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The White House says President Barack Obama congratulated Vladimir Putin for winning election as Russia's next president.

Obama and Putin spoke by phone Friday, five days after Putin won a return to the presidential post he held before his protege Dmitry Medvedev's single term.

The U.S. has been somewhat cool to Putin, who has been highly critical of the United States _ much more so than the man he's replacing.

The White House says the two men agreed to continue discussion on areas where the U.S. and Russia have differed, including on next steps in Syria.

The White House says Obama told Putin that the two nations have much work to do together. He highlighted current cooperation on nuclear disarmament, Iran sanctions and in Afghanistan.

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