Biden forgets Rishi Sunak’s name in major gaffe after signing off elite tanks for Ukraine

Joe Biden once again appeared to pronounce Rishi Sunak’s name incorrectly as he announced potentially game-changing news for Kyiv.

“The United States and Europe are fully united. This morning, I had a long conversation with our NATO allies. German Chancellor Scholz, President Macron, Prime Minister Sa-nook and Italian Prime Minister Meloni to continue our close coordination and our support of Ukraine,” Biden said, pronouncing the PM’s name wrong.

This isn’t the first time the President has struggled to name the leader of the United States’ closest ally.

When Rishi Sunak became PM last October, Biden told reporters: “Just today we’ve got news that ‘Rashid Sa-nook’ is now the prime minister.”

Gaffe’s aside, Joe Biden announced America’s commitment to provide Ukraine with 31 M1 Abrams main battle tanks, the toughest in America’s arsenal.

The President also lauded Germany’s decision to send Leopard tanks and to allow the reexport of those tanks from other countries who hold them, including Poland and Finland. He said Europe would provide two tank battalions of Leopard 2 tanks.

He also touted Britain’s commitment to deliver 14 Challenger 2 tanks and France’s decision to provide armoured vehicles.

“Today I’m announcing that the United States will be sending 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, the equivalent of one Ukrainian battalion,” Biden said.

“Defence Secretary Austin has recommended this step because it will enhance Ukraine‘s capacity to defend its territory and achieve strategic objectives.

READ MORE: Sunak tells Scholz, Macron and Biden Russia now ‘on backfoot’

However, many analysts, and indeed Kyiv, believe that Russia is preparing for a massive spring offensive.

The tanks the West is now providing Ukraine could help Kyiv push back against Russian troops even further and would likely be used to launch its own offensive.

Following several stunning counterattacks in the latter half of last year which saw Kyiv’s forces recapture huge swathes of territory, the front lines have remained largely static.

The most intense fighting has occurred in and around the city of Bakhmut, which has become a focal point of fighting in the east.

Although the town is believed to have limited strategic importance, it has become a rallying cry for both Russia and Ukraine who are fighting a bloody battle for control of the town.