A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, John Kirby, defended President Joe Biden’s decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, despite the possible harm that they could do to civilians.

Cluster munitions are able to drop explosive bomblets over a large area, making them easily stumbled upon by ordinary people and posing a possible threat to the safety of anyone who comes near them. More than 120 countries have banned the use and production of cluster munitions, making the recent U.S. decision controversial.

The announcement that Biden would send this ammunition to Ukraine came on the same day as the destruction of the final remaining munition of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile, a milestone for the administration.

In an interview with ABC’s This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz, Kirby explained the U.S. decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine.

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“I think we can all agree that more civilians have been and will continue to be killed by Russian forces — whether it’s cluster munitions, drones, missile attacks or just frontal assaults — than will likely be hurt by the use of these cluster munitions fired as Russian positions inside Ukrainian territory,” Kirby said.

He went on to explain the need for these weapons in Ukraine.

“This is literally a gunfight… They’re running out of inventory,” he stated. “We are trying to ramp up our production of the kind of artillery shells that they’re using most. But that production rate is still not where we wanted it to be.”

When asked why America has not banned cluster munitions, Kirby deflected.

“We are very mindful of the concerns about civilian casualties and unexploded ordnance being plucked up by civilians or children and being hurt,” he said. “Of course, we’re mindful of that. And we’re going to focus with Ukraine on de-mining.”

The interview aired just days before Biden left for the NATO summit in Lithuania, which will focus primarily on the crisis in Ukraine.

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