The United States announced Friday it will provide cluster munitions to Ukraine for the first time as Kyiv's forces face tough fighting in their counteroffensive against invading Russian troops.

The move drew sharp criticism from rights groups due to the danger unexploded bomblets pose, but Washington said it has received assurances from Kyiv that it would minimize risk to civilians, including by not using the munitions in populated areas.

President Joe Biden told CNN that the decision to provide the munitions was "very difficult," but that Ukrainian forces were "running out of ammunition."