The Biden administration has debated whether to send the controversial weapons to Ukraine for months (Picture: Associated Press/Getty Images)
The US has announced it will be sending controversial cluster munitions to Ukraine as part of a $800 million military aid package.
Such weapons have been banned by many US allies for 15 years, due to the indiscriminate harm they can cause to civilian populations.
However, Ukraine has been asking for them for several months, as its stockpiles of weapons runs low amid a difficult and slow counteroffensive.
Both Ukraine and Russia have used cluster munitions on the battlefield over the course of the war, but the Biden administration has been reluctant to send them over due to their controversial nature.
Today’s announcement, made by the president’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan, marks the end of months of vacillation.
Mr Sullivan said: ‘Ukraine would not be using these munitions in some foreign land.
‘This is their country they’re defending.
‘These are their citizens they’re protecting and they are motivated to use any weapon system they have in a way that minimizes risks to those citizens.’
The announcement was made by President Biden’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan (Picture: EPA)
Cluster bombs have been used by Russian and Ukrainian forces (Picture: Andre Luis Alves/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Cluster munitions are weapons that break apart in the air to scatter smaller munitions over a wide area.
Sometimes, those smaller munitions do not explode – meaning they can remain live, dangerous and hidden until civilians return to the area.
They are seen as particularly dangerous to children, and many countries – including the UK, Germany and France – signed the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions promising to stop their use.
The agreement was not signed by the US, Ukraine or Russia, though, as they argued there are times on the battlefield when such weapons need to be used.
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