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Russia signs deals with China to offset Ukraine sanctions

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Russia signs deals with China to offset Ukraine sanctions


Russia has signed a series of deals with China to help weather Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

They are seen as evidence of Moscow’s shift eastwards, ordered by President Putin to avoid isolation.

Both countries’ prime ministers signed a total of 38 deals in the Russian capital covering energy, trade, defence and finance.

A currency swap was also agreed, intended partly to reduce dependency on the US dollar.

“The situation in world finance is not the easiest one. Not all countries are developing fast and we have difficulties of our own. Nevertheless our countries’ major banks have reached an agreement to open credit lines for our joint projects,” said the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

“This year when growth in international trade is acute and difficult, the turnover between our two countries is growing dynamically. And this fact alone shows that we have huge potential for cooperation,” added his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang.

But despite the deals, business observers say the Chinese have been wary of investing in Russia for fear of antagonising the West.

Beijing may also be concerned about a drop in the price of oil, Russia’s most important export – although supplies of crude to China have risen sharply.

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