Joe Biden confuses Ukraine war with Iraq in latest on-screen gaffe

Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin is “losing the war in Iraq” when he meant to say Ukraine, in his latest on-screen slip-up on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters briefly before departing the White House on a trip to Chicago, the US President was asked if Putin had been weakened by the brief uprising led by a Russian mercenary chief whose forces had been fighting against Ukraine.

The 80-year-old responded: “It’s hard to tell really. But he’s clearly losing the war in Iraq. He’s losing the war at home and he has become a bit of a pariah around the world.”

It is not the first time he’s got them mixed up.

Mr Biden has publicly muddled Ukraine and Iraq several times since Russia’s war broke out, drawing criticism including from Americans for whom the Iraq War, which ended in 2011 and saw thousands of US soldiers die, is still a raw memory.

In November, while campaigning in Florida ahead of the midterm elections, he referred to “the war in Iraq and the impact on oil” before adding, “Excuse me – the war in Ukraine”.

A week later, he muddled the Ukrainian city of Kherson with the Iraqi city of Fallujah when speaking at a White House press event.

Wednesday’s slip-up was the second made by the president in 24 hours.

On Tuesday night, Mr Biden corrected himself at a campaign fundraising event – referring to China when he meant India, whose prime minister, Narendra Modi, visited the White House a week ago.

“You probably saw my new best friend – the prime minister of a little country that’s now the largest in the world, China – I mean, excuse me, India. India is not looking for a permanent alliance, but they’re looking for some hedge against – in the region,” he said.

Public opinion polling shows that a majority of Americans have concerns about Mr Biden’s age.

Mr Biden is the oldest person to have been elected US President, aged 78 years and 61 days old at his inauguration. Second-oldest was Donald Trump, who was 70 years and 220 days old when he became president.

Some 73 per cent of respondents to an April 21-24 Reuters/Ipsos poll said that they considered Mr Biden too old to work in government. A majority – 63 per cent – of Democrats agreed with that statement.

Mr Biden’s doctor declared him healthy and “fit for duty” in February after a physical examination.