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China, South Korea lift Russian energy imports, eroding sanctions

Even countries opposing Moscow take advantage of discounts

Containers are stacked at the Chinese port of Qingdao. Chinese imports from Russia grew 26% in March. (Xinhua via Kyodo)

BEIJING/TOKYO -- Russia's energy trade remains a glaring hole in the tightening sanctions net around the country, as increased purchases not only by China but also pro-sanctions countries like South Korea bring in foreign currency that funds Moscow's war efforts. 

China's total imports from Russia jumped 26% on the year in dollar terms in March, government trade data released Tuesday shows. The increase came even as the country's overall imports dipped 0.1%, as a resurgence of coronavirus cases spurred citywide lockdowns that have hampered economic activity.

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