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China’s imports of Russian crude oil hit a record in May, as Chinese buyers took advantage of discounted prices after Beijing pledged to continue normal economic ties with Moscow despite the geopolitical fallout over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

A year-over-year rise of 55 percent in May, to 8.42 million metric tons, meant that imports from Russia overtook those from Saudi Arabia to become China’s largest single source of crude for the month, according to Chinese customs data released Friday. In April, Saudi oil accounted for 21 percent of China’s total imports, compared with 15 percent for Russian-sourced fuel, according to an analysis from Cinda Securities.