Germany considering whether to supply IRIS-T air defence system to Ukraine - source

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is considering supplying IRIS-T SLM medium range surface-to-air defence systems to Ukraine, a security source said on Friday.

German daily Bild had reported earlier that the German cabinet's security council was discussing the matter, and that IRIS-T SLM systems, made by privately held German weapons maker Diehl Defense, could be deployed in Ukraine from November.

Ukraine's pleas for heavy weapons have intensified since Moscow earlier this month turned its fiercest firepower on the country's east and south, after failing to take the capital Kyiv.

Germany last week said it would deliver seven self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, in a further reversal of a longtime policy not to send heavy weapons to war zones due to the country's Nazi past.

According to Bild, Ukraine is interested in receiving 10 IRIS-T SLM systems, which could be manufactured over the next three to four years. The paper said that the system can launch missiles over a distance of 40 kilometres (25 miles) to take down fighter jets, helicopters or missiles.

Training for Ukrainian soldiers could start as soon as the German government has approved the plan, Bild said.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation" to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West say the fascist allegation is baseless and that the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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