George W Bush confuses war in Ukraine with Iraq invasion in speech gaffe

Former US president blames the mistake on his age

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Former US president George W Bush mistakenly described the invasion of Iraq as "brutal" and "unjustified" before correcting himself to say he meant to refer to Russia's attack on Ukraine.

Mr Bush criticised Russia's political system in his speech at an event in Dallas on Wednesday.

"The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq,” Mr Bush said, before correcting himself and shaking his head. "I mean, of Ukraine."

He blamed the mistake on his age, as the audience burst into laughter.

In 2003, when Mr Bush was president, the US led an invasion of Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that were never found.

The prolonged conflict killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced many more.

Mr Bush's remarks quickly went viral on social media, gathering more than three million views on Twitter alone after the clip was tweeted by a Dallas news reporter.

He also compared Ukranian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy with Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill, while condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin for launching the attack on Ukraine in February.

Updated: May 19, 2022, 7:24 AM