The invasion of Iraq was “completely unjustified and brutal,” former US President George W. Bush said at an event. In the same breath, the former head of government of the United States recognized his mistake, made a face and corrected himself: “I meant: to Ukraine.”

The excerpt of his speech at an event of the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas, has since spread rapidly on social media.

Bush apologized for his faux pas and simply said: “75”. A nod to his age. The audience responded with laughter.

Former Presidents of the United States are honored after their term of office with a so-called Presidential Library. These institutes keep and display the papers, records and belongings of heads of state. The Republican tradition was founded by Herbert Hoover, who ruled the USA from 1929 to 1933. Some ex-presidents maintain their own institutes and foundations.

At the George W. Bush Institute event on Wednesday afternoon (local time), experts discussed “the role of elections in a democratic society,” as the organization’s website puts it. The slip happened to the ex-president in his closing words.

“The elections in Russia are fake. Political opponents are imprisoned or otherwise barred from participating in the electoral process,” Bush said. “The result is an abolition of the separation of powers in Russia and one man’s decision to launch a totally unwarranted and brutal invasion.” Here came the slip of the tongue.

Some Twitter users speculate that George W. Bush was secretly referring to Iraq. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a few months after Bush took office, the US launched a “war on terror”. The 2003 war in Iraq followed the invasion of Afghanistan.