Russia, China continue energy cooperation despite sanctions

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Russia and China are expected to continue all energy cooperation despite international sanctions that not only target Moscow but entities that work with the Kremlin amid its war in Ukraine.

China has boosted its energy spending with Russia, which it relies on for much of its oil needs, and earlier this month Beijing and Moscow agreed to make all gas payments using the ruble and yuan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed last week that Western currencies like the dollar, euro and pound were tanking and said business with Asia was the way of the future. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in Beijing on Feb. 4, 2022. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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The ruble is still worth less than $0.02, though it has strengthened in value slightly since before Russia’s invasion in February, while the U.S. dollar is worth roughly seven Chinese yuan.

But one official believes the threat of continued sanctioning will not stop Russia and China from expanding energy cooperation, reported Russia state-owned news agency Tass Tuesday. 

"With regard to energy exports, I believe that cooperation between China and Russia in this area will further expand, especially if we take into account the changes taking place in the international arena," Qian Feng, director of the research department of the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University in Beijing, told the outlet. "We have always opposed unilateral sanctions that do not comply with international law."

Western leaders condemned China’s refusal to decry Moscow’s illegal invasion earlier this year, but officials in recent weeks have voiced mounting concern over Beijing’s blatant support of Putin.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to meet his Russian counterpart this week in his first foreign trip since the onslaught of the pandemic two years ago.

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves as he witnesses via video link the ground-breaking ceremony of a bilateral nuclear energy cooperation project with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, from Beijing, May 19, 2021. (Huang Jingwen/Xinhua via AP / AP Newsroom)

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The pair are expected to meet during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's summit in Uzbekistan, which will run Sept. 15-16, marking their first in-person meeting since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

It remains unclear what Putin and Xi will discuss but recent war games and renegotiated gas deals are expected to be among the items the leaders will address.

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