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Local residents examine an area destroyed in a night shelling attack in Nagorno-Karabakh. Photo: Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to a "humanitarian ceasefire" in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh beginning on Monday, the U.S. State Department said in a joint statement with the two countries' foreign ministers on Sunday.

The big picture: Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of violating previous ceasefires — one announced on Oct. 10 and another on Oct. 17 — almost immediately after they took effect.

  • Hundreds of soldiers and dozens of civilians have been killed since the fighting began in late September.
  • The violence is the worst the region has seen in years, and began with coordinated air and missile attacks late last month from Azerbaijan, which claimed Armenian forces had been preparing an attack (Armenia denies that).

Details: Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to abide by the terms of a Russia-brokered Oct. 10 truce, beginning at 8am.local time (12am ET) on Monday, the U.S. State Department said.

  • The Oct. 10 ceasefire was intended to allow the two sides to exchange prisoners and recover bodies.
  • "The United States facilitated intensive negotiations among the Foreign Ministers and the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to move Armenia and Azerbaijan closer to a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," the State Department said on Sunday.
  • The OSCE Minsk Group, which is led by France, Russia and the U.S., said in a separate statement that it will meet again with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan on Oct. 29.

The backstory: Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous region of about 150,000 people that is populated mainly by ethnic Armenians but lies within the borders of Azerbaijan.

  • The countries have both claimed the territory since the collapse of the Soviet Union, fought a war over it from 1992 to 1994, and stood on the precipice of further conflict since.
  • Previous skirmishes, though numerous, have left the stalemate largely unaltered — as has a peace process overseen by the U.S., France and Russia.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 10, 2020 - World

In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe

A waiter stands on an empty street in downtown Lisbon on Nov. 9, after Portugal introduced a night-time curfew for 70% of the population, including the capital and also the coastal city of Porto. It'll last for at least two weeks, per the BBC. Photo: Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP via Getty Images

Portugal and Hungary have become the latest European countries to impose partial lockdowns, with curfews going into effect overnight. Governments across the continent are imposing more restrictions in attempts to curb COVID-19 spikes.

The big picture: Over 9.2 million cases have been reported to the European Centre for Disease Control. Per the ECDC, France has the most (almost 1.8 million) followed by Spain (over 1.3 million) and the United Kingdom (nearly 1.2 million). The COVID death rate per 100,000 of the population is highest in the Czech Republic (25), followed by Belgium (19) and Hungary (10.4).

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.