Russia China
Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev shakes hands with China's Premier Li Keqiang during a meeting in MoscowReuters

Russia and China signed trade, energy and finance deals on Monday as Moscow hailed its sanctions-busting pivot to Asia.

A raft of agreements were signed as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Moscow and built on moves by Russia's President Vladimir Putin to seek Eastern markets in the face of Western sanctions.

"I consider it important that, in spite of the difficult situation, we are opening up new possibilities," Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said after 38 agreements were signed.

The deals included a cooperation agreement between Russia's state-run energy firm Rosneft and China National Petroleum Corporation, and agreements to open up credit lines between Russia's sanctions-hit banks and China's Exim bank.

The two sides agreed on a governmental accord to work together on natural gas supplies via the eastern route. The deal is critical for the $400bn (£249bn, €316bn) gas supply deal signed between the two sides in May.

The deals are the first concrete steps Russia has made to attract investment from China since May's gas deal. Reeling from economic sanctions imposed by the West, Russia's gross domestic product growth has slumped in recent months, bringing the economy to the precipice of a recession.

Russia and China's central banks also signed an accord on currency swaps, while the governments agreed on an anti-tax avoidance treaty.

The United States and the European Union slapped sanctions on Russia after it annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in March.

The Western allies have shown little appetite for reducing sanctions, accusing Russia of fuelling the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine by supplying weapons and fighters to the separatist rebels fighting against Ukrainian government forces.