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Boys play on a street next to a building destroyed by war in Shushi, Nagorno-Karabakh, in 2015. Photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Officials in Azerbaijan and human rights activists in Armenia have reported civilian deaths following clashes between the two nations over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to Reuters.

The big picture: The two countries, which were part of the Soviet Union when it collapsed, have had disputes over the region for decades. It is internationally considered part of Azerbaijan but controlled by ethnic Armenians.

What's happening: Armenia said Azerbaijan conducted air and artillery attack on the disputed region, which Azerbaijan claimed was in response to Armenian shelling, per Reuters.

  • Armenia declared martial law and mobilized its male population on Sunday. Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh have also declared martial law.
  • Human rights activists in Armenia said at least two civilians have been killed by Azerbaijani shelling, while officials in Azerbaijan reported an unspecified number of civilian deaths and six wounded. Reuters could not independently confirm the deaths.

What they're saying: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pledged support for Azerbaijan and called Armenia "the biggest threat to peace and tranquillity in the region," according to the BBC.

  • Russia, which has acted as a mediator in the conflict and arms supplier to both sides, called for a ceasefire and talks to cool the situation.
  • The U.S. issued a statement on Sunday afternoon condemning the violence and calling on the two sides to return to negotiations to halt escalation. "The United States believes participation in the escalating violence by external parties would be deeply unhelpful and only exacerbate regional tensions," a State Department spokesperson said.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 24, 2020 - World

Ethiopia's PM sends forces to region where gunmen killed over 100 people

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tweeted Thursday that he's sent forces to the western Benishangul-Gumuz region, where gunmen killed more than 100 people a day earlier.

Why it matters: Wednesday's attack on the village of Bekoji is the latest massacre in Ethiopia as ethnic tensions escalate over land and other resources. The violence has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Fintech's record year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Massive venture rounds into fintech companies have ballooned this year, pushing up total dollars invested — in just the first three quarters of 2021 — to nearly double the amount in all of 2020, per new PitchBook data.

Why it matters: The maturing of fintech startups means a growing number of companies are able to raise huge later-stage funding rounds as investors look to lock-in their bets.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Democrats' clean power outlook is very muddy

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Here are two big questions as a key Democratic proposal to slash emissions from power generation flounders: how much its demise would sap climate protections, and what might replace it.

Catch up fast: New financial carrots and sticks for utilities to deploy zero-carbon power — the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) — look unlikely to stay in Democrats' big social spending and climate bill.