Russia, China near gas deal

China is set to sign a multibillion-dollar deal to buy Russian gas when President Vladimir Putin visits next week.

China is entering into the agreement despite pressure from the U.S. to not undermine sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, The Associated Press reports.

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Last month, the U.S. released a new round of sanctions on Russia in an effort to squeeze its energy sector further.

Washington asked Beijing not to make deals with Russia, but U.S. officials understand China has certain energy needs as the world's second-largest economy.

While negotiations between China and Russia began over a decade ago, they had stalled until the Ukraine crisis.

Now that Russia is isolated for its annexation of Crimea, it is facing pressure to cave on its gas prices.

"We are still exchanging views with Moscow and we will try our best to ensure that this contract can be signed and witnessed by the two presidents during President Putin's visit to China," a deputy Chinese foreign minister, Cheng Guoping, said on Thursday.

Putin plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a two-day Asian security conference starting Tuesday.