Chinese imports of Russian oil rose 55% year-on-year in May, at a time of Western sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, according to official data published on Monday.
The world’s second-largest economy imported 8.42 million tonnes of oil from Russia, surpassing fuel shipments from Saudi Arabia, which is normally China’s biggest supplier.
Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping assured Russian President Vladimir Putin of his collaboration on “sovereignty” and “security” issues. Beijing announced important diplomatic support for Moscow.
The Chinese data was published in the week when Ukraine’s conflict will be four months old and when other buyers shun Russian oil.
The numbers represent an increase of 5.44 million tonnes imported by China compared to May 2021.
State media reported earlier this month that China is willing to “intensify strategic coordination between the two countries”.
The Kremlin announced that the two presidents had agreed to increase economic cooperation in the face of “illegal” sanctions imposed by the West.
Western countries have adopted unprecedented sanctions against Russia in reprisal for the invasion of Ukraine. Moscow is looking for new markets and suppliers to replace foreign companies that have left the country.