Why is the US sending bombs banned in 111 countries to Ukraine?

The controversial bombs often lead to civilian deaths. Is the US crossing an ethical line by sending them to Ukraine?

A man walks past an unexploded tail section of a 300mm rocket which appear to contained cluster bombs launched from a BM-30 Smerch multiple rocket launcher embedded in the ground after shelling in Lysychansk, Lugansk region on April 11, 2022
An unexploded tail section of a 300mm rocket that appears to contain cluster bombs is embedded in the ground after shelling in Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine's Luhansk region on April 11, 2022 [File: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP]

Despite the objections of lawmakers and some allies, the United States government is providing Ukraine with cluster bombs that the US itself hasn’t used since 2003. The US says it’s a necessary measure to help Ukraine protect itself — but the bombs, which are known to often cause civilian deaths, are banned by more than 100 countries. The Ukrainian government has promised that the weapons will not be used in populated areas, but there are already reports to the contrary. So has the US crossed an ethical line by sending these weapons to Ukraine?

In this episode:

  • Nancy Youssef (@nancyayoussef), national security correspondent, The Wall Street Journal

Episode credits:

This episode was produced by David Enders, Ashish Malhotra and our host Malika Bilal. Khaled Soltan and Zaina Badr fact-checked this episode.

Our sound designer is Alex Roldan. Our lead of audience development and engagement is Aya Elmileik. Munera AlDosari and Adam Abou-Gad are our engagement producers.

Alexandra Locke is The Take’s executive producer, and Ney Alvarez is Al Jazeera’s head of audio.

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Source: Al Jazeera