A year and a half after broad sanctions severely hampered ties with the West, Russia’s president, Putin, said Tuesday that economic connections between Moscow and Beijing have grown quite strong.
“Relations between Russia and China in the sphere of economic cooperation have reached a very high level,” Vladimir Putin said, speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, according to Russian state-owned news agency TASS.
“Of course, this is all a derivative of what we have achieved in the political sphere. But nevertheless the results are more than good, they are excellent.”
Since the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which sparked a wave of sanctions against Moscow spearheaded by the United States and other members of the G7 group of advanced countries, Russia has been more and more dependent on China.
However, China has stated that there are “no limits” to its friendship with its northern neighbor, and China’s role as a vital economic partner has helped to lessen the effects of Russia’s expulsion from the international financial system.
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Trade between the two soared 40% in the first five months of this year, according to Chinese customs data, even as it slowed between the world’s second-biggest economy and other key partners. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said in May that he expected trade with China would top $200 billion this year.
Russia is now China’s biggest supplier of crude oil, ahead of Saudi Arabia. Almost a fifth of China’s crude imports in July came from its Eurasian neighbor, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in a report Tuesday.
Together with India, China accounted for 80% of Russian oil exports in July, helping Moscow rake in an estimated $15.3 billion in revenues, the International Energy Agency said in its latest oil market report.