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Rishi Sunak ‘discourages’ use of cluster bombs after Biden agrees to send to Ukraine | World News

Rishi Sunak has said the UK “discourages” the use of cluster bombs after the US agreed to send them to Ukraine.

President Joe Biden has faced criticism for supplying the munitions, which are banned by many allies because of their track record of killing many civilians.

The prime minister said the UK was one of 123 countries that signed a convention banning their use, and would continue focusing on supplying tanks and long-range weapons to help the fight against Russia.

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He added: “We will continue to do our part to support Ukraine against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion, but we’ve done that by providing heavy battle tanks and most recently long-range weapons, and hopefully all countries can continue to support Ukraine.

“Russia’s act of barbarism is causing untold suffering to millions of people. It’s right that we collectively stand up to it.”

Mr Sunak will meet Mr Biden in London on Monday ahead of a NATO summit.

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What are cluster bombs?

Cluster bombs detonate in the air and release “bomblets” that scatter over a large area.

Opponents say they kill indiscriminately and that some of the smaller munitions can fail to detonate, posing a long-term risk to civilians.

Mr Biden has called it a “difficult decision” but said he had to act as “the Ukrainians are running out of ammunition”.

The US says Kyiv has provided assurances it will not use cluster bombs in urban areas but some NATO allies are likely to be uneasy over their supply.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the US for the “timely, broad and much-needed defence aid package” that will “bring Ukraine closer to victory over the enemy, and democracy to victory over dictatorship”.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits their use or stockpiling because of their indiscriminate effect on civilian populations.

The US, Ukraine and Russia are not signatories.

Both Moscow and Kyiv have used cluster munitions so far in the war.

Commons Defence Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood urged the US to “reconsider”.

The Tory MP tweeted: “This is the wrong call and will alienate international good will.

“Their use leaves deadly unexploded ordnance over the battlefield, killing & injuring civilians long after the war is over.”

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