China is now fully open to Russian wheat deliveries, as all import restrictions have been lifted, the South China Morning Post has reported, citing the country’s General Administration of Customs. The announcement was made public, hours after Russia began its military operation in Ukraine, the paper says, adding that the deal could provide a lifeline to the Russian economy as it faces tough economic sanctions from the EU and the US, and at the same time addresses China’s need to enhance food security. China previously restricted imports from Russia due to phytosanitary concerns, as a measure to control the spread of plant diseases. Earlier this month, during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing, China agreed to allow imports from Russia. The crisis in Ukraine sent global wheat prices to record highs this week. Russia, the world’s top wheat exporter, and Ukraine, dubbed ‘the breadbasket of Europe’, both account for nearly a third of the global wheat export market. China refused to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine, instead calling for the sides to “exercise restraint” and accusing the United States of “fueling fire” in the region.