The Biden administration has decided to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine and is expected to announce on Friday that the Pentagon will send thousands as part of a new military aid package worth up to $800 million for the war effort against Russia, according to people familiar with the decision.
The decision comes despite widespread concerns that the controversial bombs can cause civilian casualties. The Pentagon will provide munitions that have a reduced “dud rate,” meaning there will be far fewer unexploded rounds that can result in unintended civilian deaths.
U.S. officials said Thursday they expect the military aid to Ukraine will be announced on Friday. The weapons will come from Pentagon stocks and will also include Bradley and Stryker armored vehicles and an array of ammunition, such as rounds for howitzers and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as HIMARS, officials said.
Long sought by Ukraine, cluster bombs are weapons that open in the air, releasing submunitions, or “bomblets,” that are dispersed over a large area and are intended to wreak destruction on multiple targets at once.
The officials and others familiar with the decision were not authorized to publicly discuss the move before the official announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.