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The relationship between Russia and China has come under scrutiny as the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to put their increasingly close ties under strain. The two countries have promised to work together to fight the disease and have both denounced American attempts to blame Beijing for the outbreak, but the rise in Russian cases threatens to undermine China’s own efforts to stop it spreading – particularly in the border province of Heilongjiang. Russia’s economy is also suffering both from the lockdown needed to fight the disease and the global slump in oil prices. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have pledged to maintain a united front in fighting the disease, holding three phone conversations since March.