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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

Fighting has continued for the second day over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, with at least 59 soldiers and civilians reported dead.

The backstory: The mountainous region of around 150,000 people 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 1992-1994, and stood on the precipice of further conflict since.

  • The violence is the worst the region has seen since 2016, and began with coordinated air and missile attacks on Sunday from Azerbaijan, which claimed Armenian forces had been preparing an attack (Armenia denies that).
  • Both sides have signaled that they are prepared for war, including by declaring martial law. Calls for calm have come from Brussels, Washington, Moscow and Tehran.

They both have powerful friends.

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Azerbaijan, and today demanded that Armenia end its "occupation" of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia claims Turkey is providing Azerbaijan with weapons, including drones.
  • Armenia's economy and security are heavily dependent on Russia, a fellow Orthodox Christian state. Vladimir Putin spoke yesterday with Armenia's prime minister and called for an end to the fighting. Russia's foreign minister also spoke with his Turkish counterpart.

Where things stand: Previous skirmishes, though numerous, have left the stalemate largely unaltered. So has a peace process overseen by the U.S., France and Russia.

Worth noting: "According to the casualty lists so far, most of those killed hadn’t even been born when the conflict first started," writes Foreign Policy's James Palmer.

Go deeper

Erdoğan finally congratulates Biden on election win

Photo: Adem Altan/AFP via Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday for his projected victory in the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Erdoğan was one of the major leaders who had yet to congratulate Biden, in addition to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.