China buying more Russian energy

China has emerged as a major customer for Russian energy products as other buyers shy away. Its imports of crude oil and liquefied natural gas rose significantly in May.

China's customs authorities say the country imported 8.4 million tons of crude oil from Russia last month, up 54.8 percent from a year earlier.

Imports of Russian LNG rose by 54.3 percent.

China's crude oil imports from Russia initially decreased after the invasion of Ukraine. But one expert says the price drop since then may have spurred Chinese firms to buy more.

Beijing has refused to back sanctions against Moscow and said its policy is to keep trading with the country.

China's overall imports from Russia topped 10.2 billion dollars last month. That is a 5-year high, and up 79.6 percent year on year.

But exports to Russia fell by 8.6 percent. Chinese exporters may be trying to avoid becoming targets of sanctions.