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Obama, Putin Discuss World Crises

FILE - Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by telephone Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a number of issues, White House officials said.

The two leaders discussed ongoing efforts to bring an end to the civil war in Syria and abiding by the terms of a cease-fire in Ukraine.

"They spent a significant portion of their time discussing the need for the Russians ... to end their support for separatists that are destabilizing Ukraine right now," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

The Kremlin said Putin has emphasized the need for Ukraine to meet its commitments under the cease-fire deal.

Both leaders voiced support for United Nations talks to resolve the civil war in Syria, in which President Bashar al-Assad's future remains a key sticking point. The U.S. has been pressing Russia to end its support for Assad and stop bombing the rebel groups fighting Assad's regime.

Obama and Putin discussed the "importance of a strong and united international response" to North Korea's recent nuclear test in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The Kremlin said they broached the topic of increased military contacts between the U.S. and Russia to bolster the fight against the Islamic State group and other terrorists.