In a meeting with leaders from Europe’s Baltic states earlier this year, President Donald Trump reportedly confused them with leaders from the Balkans — and blamed them for wars during the 1990s that saw Yugoslavia broken apart.
The French daily publication Le Monde first reported the story.
> Trump reportedly made the mistake in a White House meeting with Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania, Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia and Raimonds Vējonis of Latvia in April.
> The leaders were reportedly confused by the president’s accusation, and it took them a minute to realize he had confused the Balkans and the Baltics.
The two regions are not close geographically:
> The Baltic states lie in northern Europe, on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea.
> Around 1,000 miles away sits the Balkan region in south-eastern Europe. It comprises states including Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.
> Much of the region was incorporated into the state of Yugoslavia, a socialist state created after German occupying forces were ousted following World War II.
> In the 1990s Yugoslavia disintegrated and the region was torn apart in a series of civil wars, culminating with the Kosovo war of 1998-1999.
Newsweek noted that Trump’s mistake is all the more surprising considering that his wife, Melania, was born in Slovenia, which was part of Yugoslavia until 1991.
> Trump, according to the Le Monde report, remained “apparently uneducated in the matter by his wife, Melania, originally from the former Yugoslavia”.