President Obama spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone Saturday, the same day Russia's prime minister said the U.S. and Russia are in "a new Cold War."
The White House released a statement Sunday saying, "President Obama emphasized the importance now of Russia playing a constructive role by ceasing its air campaign against moderate opposition forces in Syria," during the call.
The statement does not say what President Putin's responses were, and the only area of agreement the statement noted was on the importance of the International Syrian Support Group.
"The leaders agreed that the United States and Russia will remain in communication on the important work of the ISSG," the White House statement continues.
Years of building tensions appear to have been escalated by disagreement over Russia's actions in Syria, on top of the continued political conflict in Ukraine. Russia backs Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Obama administration has called for Assad to step aside.
Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday that the U.S. and Russia to be a "new Cold War" at the Munich Security conference Saturday. Secretary of State John Kerry, who attended, used his speech to emphasize the importance of sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
Medvedev blamed Western countries for the tensions and pressed for Russia's inclusion in multilateral talks in Europe.
The White House did not say if the leaders discussed Medvedev's remarks in Sunday's call.
The president reiterated U.S. policy in Ukraine to Putin.
"The President also urged combined Russian-separatist forces to fulfill their Minsk obligations, especially adhering to the cease-fire," the White House statement says.
"The President reiterated the importance of quickly reaching agreement on the modalities for elections in eastern Ukraine that comply with [international standards]," the White House said.
Medvedev's remarks are a particular blow because Medvedev, who served as Russian president from 2008 to 2012, while Putin served as prime minister, has been seen as more pro-Western. Obama's relationship with Putin has been poorer.