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Germany halts major arms deal with Russia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R ) speaks with Vice Chancellor, Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel (C) and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier  (L) during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on March 19, 2014
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R ) speaks with Vice Chancellor, Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel (C) and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (L) during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on March 19, 2014

Germany on Wednesday halted a major deal to provide a fully equipped training camp to Russian forces, saying any arms trading with Moscow was currently "indefensible".

Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel announced the suspension of the Rheinmetall project as Moscow tightened its grip on the flashpoint Crimean peninsula.

The German government said in a statement it was in touch with the defence group, whose contract with the Russian authorities is reported to be worth around 100 million euros ($140 million).

A Rheinmetall spokesman had earlier said the company would fulfil its contractual obligations to build the centre, which German media said would train 30,000 soldiers a year.

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