Germany's Rheinmetall had planned to build a combat training center in Russia under a deal signed in 2011. (Rheinmetall)
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BONN — German government officials on Wednesday halted the planned export of a high-end battle simulation facility to Russia amid the unfolding crisis on the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.
Siegmar Gabriel, Germany’s federal minister for economic affairs, and energy, called a halt to the effort.
German company Rheinmetall was to supply the Russian Army with the facility under a deal signed in 2011.
A statement issued late Wednesday by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said: “In the current situation the federal government considers the export of the combat training center to Russia not justifiable. The federal government is in contact with the company. At the moment no exports are planned. The company will inform the federal government in time if exports are to be made, so that the federal government can take the required steps if necessary in the light of further developments.”
Rheinmetall was not available for comment.
In a March 7 statement concerning Russia, the company had said that it would meet its obligations toward the Russian contractual partner for the training center.
“It is in its delivery phase and is supposed to become operational this year. ... We do not want to speculate about possible consequences of any further deterioration in the political climate with Russia,” the company said.
“In principle, Rheinmetall continues to see good potential in the Russian market. However, currently there are no concrete tenders which are being followed,” it said.
Located in Mulino in the Volga region, the 500-square-kilometer simulation-supported training center — according to Rheinmetall the most advanced system of its kind worldwide — was supposed to begin operations in this year. It is designed to train a reinforced mechanized infantry or armored brigade and would be able to train 30,000 troops a year.
Under the contract, Rheinmetall was tasked with developing and supplying the live-combat simulation system as well as technical implementation of all aspects of the project, including commissioning and quality assurance. ■