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President Obama expressed skepticism Wednesday about Russia’s aims in Ukraine after Kiev announced that the two countries had agreed to a cease-fire, a claim it later reportedly backed off of.

Noting that it was “too early to tell” whether Moscow would hold to such an agreement anyway, Obama said that if Russia is agreeing to stop backing separatist militias in eastern Ukraine, “that is something we all hope for.”

But he stopped short of endorsing any sort of deal, and within hours, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that a cease-fire had been reached, according to media reports in Russia. Eventually, a spokesman for Ukraine’s president told The New York Times that his office went too far in describing a phone call between the country’s leaders.

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