Two people were killed after Russian missiles landed in an eastern Polish village on Tuesday, a US intelligence official told the Associated Press. The incident seemingly marks the first time that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war has spilled across Ukraine’s borders and into the territory of a NATO member.
The missiles landed in the village of Przewodów, which is located in eastern Poland a short distance from Ukraine’s western border, and reportedly came amid a barrage of over 90 Russian missiles that targeted Ukraine’s infrastructure.
A Polish government official said the country’s prime minister called an emergency defense committee meeting. Russia denied reports that its weapons landed in Poland, with its state-run TASSnews agency calling reports they had “a deliberate provocation.”
A spokesperson for Poland’s Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that a “Russian-made missile fell” into the region and that an ambassador for the Russian Federation has been asked to provide an immediate explanation.
The damage shifts attention onto the NATO alliance, which has repeatedly warned it will defend the territory of its allies from Russia. Poland is a member of the NATO, which operates under the principle of collective defense — enshrined in Article 5 of the alliance’s founding treaty. Under this agreement, an attack against one NATO country is considered an attack against the entire military alliance. But Article 5 has only been invoked once in NATO’s history, following the terror attacks against the US on September 11, 2001.
Article 5 states that NATO members will assist the attacked party or parties by “taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”
It’s unclear what caused the Russian projectiles to land in Poland, which could have a major bearing on how the alliance reacts.
The US and its Western allies have warned Russia repeatedly that an attack on NATO territory would trigger a strong response.
“We have a sacred obligation under Article 5 to defend each and every inch of NATO territory with the full force of our collective power,” President Joe Biden said in March.
Adrienne Watson, the White House National Security Council spokesperson, said Tuesday afternoon that “we’ve seen these reports out of Poland and are working with the Polish government to gather more information. We cannot confirm the reports or any of the details at this time. We will determine what happened and what the appropriate next steps would be.”
Echoing these comments, Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said during a press briefingthat the US is “aware of the press reports alleging that two Russian missiles have struck a location inside Poland near the Ukraine border. I can tell you that we don’t have any information at this time to corroborate those reports and are looking into this further.”
Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters he did not think the apparent strike was intentional.
“I have to believe that it was a mistake by Russia,” he said, per The Washington Post’s Liz Goodwin. “And I think if it is, Russia should come out very quickly and say that.”
Poland’s foreign affairs ministry and NATO did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider. The Russian government also did not respond to an inquiry.
The incident immediately triggered remarks from top officials in neighboring countries.
“My condolences to our Polish brothers in arms. Criminal Russian regime fired missiles which target not only Ukrainian civilians but also landed on NATO territory in Poland. Latvia fully stands with Polish friends and condemns this crime,” Latvia’s defense minister said on Twitter.
A spokesperson for the Hungarian government said that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán would also convene a meeting of the country’s defense council in response to “the missile hitting territory of Poland.”
The incident comes as Russia fired a barrage of missiles across Ukraine on Tuesday, leaving half the population of Kyiv without power.
Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov.
Pinning this comment from the Live thread to assuage people’s worry around article 5 being invoked in light of the 2 killed in the Polish border town.
This is NOT the start of WW3, folks. Calm. However, Poland has a lot of options to make things incredibly unpleasant for Russia without kicking off WW3.
The situation is still developing and I will update this comment as confirmed information comes in.
The current most credible theory is:
US official have told POLITICO it was likely caused by a missile strike or errant missile, not remnants of a missile Ukrainian armed forces shot down. Source
Polish Foreign Ministry confirm a Russian-made rocket fell on the territory. Source
Russia missiles did hit electrical infrastructure near Kovel, Ukraine, 50kms (31 miles) from the Polish border. Source
Ukraine confirmed earlier today 73 missiles (out of ~100) and 11 drones were shot down. Source
A quick refresh on NATO bylaws:
Article 5: An attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all of its members.
Article 4: The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.
Here’s everything you wanted to know about Article Four of the North Atlantic Treaty but were afraid to ask.
Poland holds urgent meeting amid reports of stray Russian missile strike.
Pentagon looking into Poland missile strike reports.
The Department of Defense Press Secretary, Brig Gen Patrick S Ryder, has said:
“We are aware of the press reporting on this. We have no information at this time to corroborate those reports but again, are taking them seriously and looking into them. And so I will make sure that we provide you with any updates as soon as we have them.”
He continues: “We’re looking into these reports – don’t have any information to corroborate them at this time. So I don’t want to speculate or get into hypotheticals. When it comes to our security commitments and Article 5, we’ve been crystal-clear that we will defend every inch of Nato territory.”
Lithuania PM” “Concerning news. Every inch of NATO territory needs to be defended.”
Russia denies any involvement in ‘missile strike on Poland’.
Russia has denied statements from Polish media outlets and officials that Russian missiles fell on the Polish village of Przewodó near the Ukrainian border.
The Russian ministry of defence posted on its Telegram, calling the reports “a deliberate provocation in order to escalate the situation.”
NATO Statement: “We are looking into these reports and coordinating with our ally Poland.”
Poland ‘raises military readiness’…
Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller has confirmed that there was an explosion that killed two Polish citizens, Reuters news agency reports
Poland is raising the readiness of its military units, he says, and “verifying if we need to activate Nato Article Four.”
That article says: “The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.”
NATO Secretary General’s Tweet: “Spoke with President Duda about the explosion in Poland. I offered my condolences for the loss of life. NATO is monitoring the situation and Allies are closely consulting. Important that all facts are established.”
US President Biden has been briefed and is speaking to Polish President Andrze Duda, officials say.
written by: Simon de Burton
Arguably, that sale also triggered the frenzy of demand for Rolex watches that has transformed the entire watch market ever since.
With power like that, it is little wonder that a second Rolex Daytona, once owned by Paul Newman, is likely to set the auction world alight when the watch goes across the block at Sotheby’s in December.
Unlike the $17m Daytona, the Rolex in question is not one that Mr Newman is known to have worn regularly, and was given away as a gift to a fellow racing enthusiast, Hollywood daredevil and stuntman who doubled for the actor in several movies, leading to them becoming close friends.Stan Barrett with Paul Newman enjoy stock car racing together.
The daredevil in question is Stan Barrett, whose adrenaline-seeking led him to attempt to become the first person to break the speed of sound on land in 1979, travelling at more than 700 mph in the Budweiser Rocket Car.
WATCHPRO columnist Simon de Burton picks up the story of Mr Newman and his double Mr Barrett, and finds out why a pair of steel Rolex watches worn during the Rocket Car attempt could realize more than $600,000 when they cross the block at Sotheby’s in December.
During the final run at Edwards Air Force Base in California on 17 December 1979, Stan Barrett wore the Cosmograph Daytona and GMT-Master.Stan Barrett wearing both the Rolex and GMT Master on one wrist. (picture courtesy Courtesy of Stan Barrett and RolexMagazine.com)
Afterwards, he was presented with a gold GMT-Master by August Busch, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, the main sponsor of the Budweiser Rocket Car and ‘Project Speed of Sound’.
That watch will also be auctioned and could realize $100,000, with a percentage of the money from the sale of all three pieces going to a Ukraine children’s charity that Mr Barrett has supported since 1987.This golden Rolex Reference 1675 GMT-Master was given to Stan Barrett by August Busch, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, the main sponsor of the Budweiser Rocket Car.
But the estimates for the two steel watches could prove conservative – because both were given to Mr Barrett by Hollywood idol Paul Newman, his best friend of 40 years and the godfather to his sons: NASCAR racing driver Stanton and television producer David.
As is well known, a Rolex Daytona gifted to Mr Newman by wife Joanne Woodward remains the most expensive wrist watch ever auctioned following its sale for $17.7m at Phillips New York five years ago. As a result, any Rolex with a connection to the Hollywood legend is now deemed ultra-valuable – and the latest two to come to market should be no exception.
Although 18 years Mr Newman’s junior, Mr Barrett formed a close relationship with the star after working as his main stuntman on numerous films, starting with Sometimes a Great Notion in 1971. Barrett was particularly well suited to the job due to his remarkable resemblance to Newman.This Rolex Reference 1675 GMT-Master Pepsi was on Stan Barrett’s wrist during the Rocket Car attempt.
Speaking by telephone from his Bellevue, Idaho, home in an exclusive interview for WATCHPRO, Mr Barrett said that Mr Newman had given him the Daytona watch immediately on hearing about the proposed record attempt. “We were at his home in Connecticut and he just went upstairs and came down with the Daytona. He could be very funny about me having the right watch to wear, and was always extremely generous.
“About four years earlier, after he had given me the GMT-Master, I bought the same model for my father – but it got stolen. The next thing we know, my father receives a replacement from Paul in the mail.”
Insatiable horophile Mr Newman gifted several watches to Mr Barrett throughout the friendship, including a Breitling Navitimer. “That time I had arrived at his house without a watch on,” recalls Mr Barrett. “Again, he went upstairs, and came down with this Breitling – and when he handed it over to me he said ‘Stan, be careful where you wear it. It was a present from Bruce Willis’.”
But it is the Rolex GMT-Master and Cosmograph Daytona now up for sale that are more interesting – not least since the former is tipped to realize $50,000-100,000, while the latter could achieve as much as $500,000.Stan Barrett wore this Rolex Reference 6262 Stan Barrett’s Rolex Daytona is expected to sell for up to $500,000.
While Mr Newman was photographed trying the Budweiser Rocket Car for size during practice sessions at Bonneville Salt Flats earlier in the year, he refused to watch the run proper.
“Paul called me after the Bonneville runs – during one of which the car’s canopy blew off at 600 mph – and he said ‘Stan, look, I want to support you, but everyone says you aren’t going to make it. And I don’t want to watch you die’,” recalls Mr Barrett.
To keep Mr Newman by his side in spirit, Mr Barrett strapped both gifted watches to his left wrist – and that is where they remained while he drove the rocket car to an unofficial 739.66 mph; a speed that, if accurate, would have made him the first person to break the sound barrier on land.The Budweiser Rocket Car unofficially broke the world land speed record. (Picture courtesy of Department of Defense photo by MSGT Paul J. Harrington)
But the record remains disputed due to the radar scanner being faulty, the fact that Mr Barrett only completed one run and because no one heard the tell-tale sonic boom that usually accompanies the sound barrier being broken.
All the same, no one else came close to the 700 mph mark for another 18 years until Andy Green drove Thrust SSC to 713.990 mph at Black Rock desert in September 1997, and then to 760.343 mph the following month.
Sotheby’s watch specialist Jonathon Burford says the watches relating to the Budweiser Rocket Car run will appeal to a wide range of collectors.
“They are not simply watches, but a part of American history the like of which won’t be seen again,” he told WATCHPRO. “All three were part of a moment in time that epitomizes a spirit of adventure that was so prevalent in America during the 1970s – and they will appeal to everyone from watch purists to motorsport fans and Hollywood memorabilia collectors.
“We have estimated them at what we believe to be realistic levels, but we do believe they are sufficiently significant to attract very strong bidding,” he added.
Mr Barrett says he wore the two steel watches regularly and often for more than 30 years, as did his son, Stanton – until they saw the huge price realised by ‘Newman’s own’ Daytona back in 2017.
“When I saw how much that one sold for I decided that maybe it wasn’t such a smart idea for us to keep wearing the watches that Paul had given me,” he said.
“I’ll be very sad to see them go, but it feels like the right thing to do. I’ll probably give around 30 per cent to the charity Slavic Gospel that I have worked with for the past 35 years and use the rest to pay-off my property loan”.
And unless Mr Barrett has a very large loan, we suspect there might be some left-over.