Amidst the Ukraine war, China-Russia economic ties are booming.

According to the BBC, the first quarter of 2022 saw a 28% year-on-year rise in trade volume between the two countries.

The Chinese government said that starting in May, it would stop charging tariffs on imported coal. As Russia’s coal exports to EU member states are on hold, this is good news for Russia – China’s second-biggest coal importer.

When asked about the future of China-Russian economic and commercial cooperation in an interview with TASS on May 5, China’s Ambassador to Russia, Zhang Hanhui, showed confidence.

The Chinese envoy said China-Russia trade volume hit 140 billion dollars in 2021. The two have huge potential and broad horizons. China and Russia are working together to reach 200 billion dollars in commerce by 2024.

The Chinese diplomat also said the countries are quote and quote “important strategic partners in the oil and gas sector.” While Russia is China’s key oil and gas supplier, China therefore has become Russia’s market.

In this regard, Professor at Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies Ann-Mari Sätre told Voice of America on May 7 that this was good for Russia. These two countries can help each other. For example, China can buy something from Russia, or give Russia something that it can not get due to the sanctions or other technical reasons. The professor speculates that Russia will import a lot from China to make up for the impact of Western sanctions.

Moreover, the Financial Times reported earlier this month that Chinese independent refiners have been secretly buying Russian oil at low discounts. This happens because the West is busy considering possible economic sanctions due to the Ukraine war and suspends oil purchases.

The newspaper wrote that since the war broke out, a Shandong official had not publicly reported deals with Russian oil suppliers. That is to avoid sanctions from the U.S.

Back on May 4, Ursula von der Leyen – the president of the European Council, presented the sixth round of sanctions against Moscow. The package seeks to ban oil imports from Russia. It will also target Russian banks and major broadcasters.

But she noted that getting a unanimous vote from the 27 countries will not be easy as some of them heavily rely on Russia for oil energy supplies.

Still, president von der Leyen said she wanted to send quote and quote “another important signal to all perpetrators of the Kremlin’s war: We know who you are. We will hold you accountable.”

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