France is sending natural gas to Germany for the first time in response to Russia cutting supply to central Europe.

Russia shut down the gas pipeline Nord Stream 1 in August. Its Nord Stream 2 pipeline was denied a German operating license in February.

Illustration shows model of natural gas pipeline, Rouble banknote, Russian flag and torn EU flag

Russia said the closure of Nord Stream 1 was to repair leaks. Some argue Russia is using the pipeline as a weapon against NATO countries that support Ukraine during the Russian invasion.

The new energy deal will provide Germany with only 2% of its daily needs.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February caused gas price increases. With the war intensifying, there are growing concerns about the lack of natural gas and increasing price hikes going into the winter. Germany has begun diversifying its energy intake, which has led the country to increase coal production and other environmentally damaging measures.

Angela Merkel, Germany's former chancellor, defended the deal struck with Russia during her tenure, arguing it provided inexpensive access to liquified natural gas (LNG).

"From the perspective of that time, it was very rational and understandable to get pipeline gas, including from Russia, that was cheaper than LNG from other parts of the world," Merkel said. She said that even during the Cold War, Germany received natural gas from Russia.

Russia President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia is willing to reopen gas lines.

"The ball, as they say, is now in European Union's court." Putin said at a Russian Energy Week event in Moscow.