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2 Mar, 2022 08:11

Biden appears to mistakenly call Ukrainians ‘Iranians’

The US president seemed to misaddress Washington’s support during his State of the Union speech
Biden appears to mistakenly call Ukrainians ‘Iranians’

US President Joe Biden had his latest episode of geographic gaffes while delivering his State of the Union address on Tuesday. He appeared to call Ukrainian people “Iranian” as he denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading the country.

The official transcript of the part in question, which was published by the White House, read: “Putin may circle [Kiev] with tanks, but he will never gain the hearts and souls of the Ukrainian people.” But the actual delivery of the phrase in the live address was much closer to “Iranian” than “Ukrainian.” Biden didn’t have trouble pronouncing “Ukrainian” in other parts of his speech.

Biden has had a propensity for gaffes throughout his lengthy political career, a trait that his supporters attribute to the childhood stutter that he successfully overcame. As president, he has seemed to have plenty of such episodes, in which he has misspoken the names of places.

One fresh example came in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, during which it took Biden three attempts to articulate the thought that the US could not have unified Afghanistan while occupying it – rather than Ukraine or Iraq, that is.

The latest slip-up was met with delight by his critics. The word “Iranian” even trended on Twitter in the US as people reacted. Some even claimed they could see Vice President Kamala Harris mouth “Ukrainian” behind Biden’s back after he misspoke, but whether she actually did that is questionable.

Florida Representative Matt Gaetz wrote that everyone must have thought it was from a popular conservative satire site.

During the speech, Biden pledged America’s continued support for Ukraine, but stressed that the US and its NATO allies would not intervene militarily to stop Russia. Moscow launched an offensive last Thursday, claiming it was necessary to put an end to Kiev’s military crackdown against its breakaway eastern regions and the creeping expansion of NATO into the country.

Western nations called it a war of aggression and retaliated by imposing harsh economic sanctions meant to cripple the Russian economy, and pledged more financial aid and arms supplies to Kiev.