Cluster bombs: Unease grows over US sending cluster bombs to Ukraine

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by Kathryn Armstrong & Antoinette Radford at

Several allies of the US have expressed unease at Washington’s decision to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs.

On Friday, the US confirmed it was sending the controversial weapons to Ukraine, with President Joe Biden calling it a “very difficult decision”.

In response, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Spain all said they were opposed to the use of the weapons.

Cluster bombs have been banned by more than 100 countries because of the danger they pose to civilians.

They typically release lots of smaller bomblets that can kill indiscriminately over a wide area.

The munitions have also caused controversy over their failure – or dud – rate. Unexploded bomblets can linger on the ground for years and then indiscriminately detonate.

Mr Biden told CNN in an interview on Friday that he had spoken to allies about the decision, which was part of a military aid package worth $800m (£626m).

The president said it had taken him “a while to be convinced to do it”, but he had acted because “the Ukrainians are running out of ammunition”.

The decision was quickly criticised by human rights groups, with Amnesty International saying cluster munitions pose “a grave threat to civilian lives, even long after the conflict has ended”.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters the American cluster bombs being sent to Ukraine failed far less frequently than ones already being used by Russia in the conflict.

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