Germany to help eastern EU states without ports access LNG -Scholz

German Chancellor Scholz meets Czech PM Fiala in Berlin
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala attend a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany May 5, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN, May 5 (Reuters) - Germany will show solidarity with European Union countries seeking alternatives to Russian gas and oil, for example helping eastern states without ports in the North or Baltic Seas access liquefied natural gas (LNG), Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday.

Speaking after meeting with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Scholz said many countries faced an even bigger challenge than Germany in reducing reliance on Russian energy imports.

Russian gas imports that arrive via pipeline account for more than 90% of gas consumption in the Czech Republic, which is landlocked, Fiala said.

"We must be prepared to help countries that do not have direct access to the North or Baltic Sea and that must rely on us cooperating with them," Scholz said, adding that the details had yet to be worked out.

Germany earlier on Thursday took steps to ramp up LNG imports, renting four floating storage and regasification units and choosing the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven as the first handling hub. read more

Separately, Scholz and Fiala announced plans for the Czech Republic to send Russian-built heavy weapons that Ukraine's army was familiar with to the country while Germany would backfill them with modern Western weapons.

Fiala said the scheme would be advantageous for Ukraine as well as the Czech Republic.

Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Andreas Rinke; Editing by Leslie Adler

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