Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday called on the international community to help Ukraine finance its gas bill so as to avoid a fresh gas war.

    Ukraine is due to pay its bill for Russian gas intended for domestic consumption and stocking in underground reservoirs on June 7, Putin said in a statement posted on his website.

    However, "talks have indicated that there may be problems with fulfilling these financial commitments. As a consequence, there appears a risk of new disruptions in Russian gas supplies to European consumers," Putin said.

    Moscow is not ready to grant Ukraine 5 billion U.S. dollars in advance payments for gas transit over five to seven years, he said.

    The premier said the European Union (EU) appeared unable to offer assistance to Ukraine and suggested that the International Monetary Fund should come to Ukraine`s aid instead.

    Russia cut off gas shipments to Ukraine in January over disputes on pricing and transition fees, leaving more than a dozen European nations without heating gas in the depths of winter for nearly two weeks.

    Russia supplies a quarter of EU`s gas needs, with 80 percent of it pumped through Ukrainian pipelines.