Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko, who has had sanctions imposed on him by the United States, says he has been asked by President Vladimir Putin to be Moscow's main point person for business relations with China.
Timchenko, who accompanied Putin this week on a trip to China, is a Russian-born billionaire and a former Putin judo partner. He built his fortune as co-founder of the oil trading company Gunvor Group.
Speaking in St. Petersburg, Timchenko said he envisions many joint projects between the two nations, including a bridge and tunnel to Crimea.
He also said Russia plans to increase its purchases of high-tech equipment from China to replace U.S. supplies.
The U.S. sanctions imposed on Timchenko are part of a broader drive by the West to put pressure on Putin and business and political leaders loyal to him over Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Based on reporting by Reuters and Bloomberg