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Luxury Yacht Rental in the Black Sea

Luxury yacht charter guide to the black sea.

The mysterious Black Sea is the charter gift that keeps on giving. A splash of saltwater splitting the countries of Eastern Europe and Russia, the heritage along these shores are rich, colorful, and absolutely mired in magical culture. From the summer home of Stalin to rainbow Romanian folklore, glorious small wineries, and Crimean battle sites, there are endless tales to be told from this lesser known part of the globe. Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, the Ukraine, and Moldova – a wealth of wonders are waiting on these cross-country shores.

Woman performing Romany dance and folk songs in national clothing

Reasons to Charter a Yacht in the Black Sea

Fabulous folklore.

From Romania to Bulgaria and the magic of Moldova, Eastern Europe’s heritage is rich and rare. Traditional costumes, incredible music laced in mythology, and stories that seem to seep into the land and sea, these countries have managed to hold on tight to their culture despite centuries of hardship.

Beautiful Beaches

The beaches that populate the Black Sea boast an endless trail of wide golden sands, secret coves, Grecian inspired glory, and warm waters. Often bustling with locals in the summer months, there’s a charming laid-back feel that follows the shoreline. From fishing port to a riviera style, be sure to hit the popular sandy spots of Smokinya in Bulgaria, the party beach of Mamaia in Romania, and the oldest elite beach of Langeron in the Ukraine.

Regal Vibes

Spend summer living like a Tsar as you soak up the coastline of the Black Sea. Scattered with palaces, handsome summer residences of Nicholas II and Alexander III, there’s something of an old-world opulence that rests upon the sands. Along with admiring dramatic architecture you can dine on caviar, sip afternoon tea while watching folkloric dances, and uncork some of the finest wines from small scale vineyards.

Beach with sun loungers at the ready

Where to Visit in the Black Sea

Bulgaria’s 7th century beach brings Ancient Greek glory to life with its golden hued rocks, its fort like walls, and its absolutely blissful beaches. While further up the coast you will find the bustling package holiday resorts of Varna and Golden Sands, those seeking a more traditional slice of Bulgarian coastal life will fall hard for Sozopol. Wander the charming old town, catch free concerts in the summer, and dine on fresh fish and shopska salad as you witness some truly awe-inspiring sunsets.

Impressive orthodox churches, the former glory of the Olympics, bubbling hot springs, and elegant tea tasting – for those charter guests wanting to explore the pearl of the Black Sea, Sochi does it’s best to live up to its regal reputation as the Russian Riviera. This yachting mogul playground invites you to throw back the finest vodka and party all night along the boardwalk, kick back on the beaches (some of which boast fine white imported sands), and even hop across to neighboring Georgia should the mood take you.

The summer palaces of Yalta are a must see with their aristocratic architecture gleaming like pearls against the pine forests and coastal cliffs. It’s not hard to see why this spot of Ukraine was considered to be the ultimate spot for those who needed to convalesce back in the 19th century. Chekhov also ended up here. There’s no better way to spend the summer than reinvigorating the soul by wandering royal botanical gardens, gulping down fine wines, and wandering the ornate halls of former Tsars.

When to Charter a Yacht to the Black Sea

Between May and September is the peak season for sailing along the Black Sea. This side of Europe and into Russia boasts balmy summers that seem to stretch on even when the rest of the continent has fallen into autumn or seems stuck in Spring. Water pleasing temperatures and a lively vibe make the Black Sea a perfect offbeat summer spot for those who want a change from the usual yacht routes.

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A Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) captures images of the 2,400-year-old merchant ship, which rests some 1.2 miles beneath the surface of the Black Sea.

Ancient Black Sea shipwreck is unprecedented discovery

Archaeologists say the 2,400-year-old ship is so well preserved that even the mast and rowers' benches have survived for millennia.

Archaeologists are heralding the discovery of an unusually intact ancient shipwreck, found more than a mile below the surface of the Black Sea off of the Bulgarian coast. The 2,400-year-old wooden vessel features elements of ship construction, including the mast and rowing benches, that until now have not been preserved on ships of this age.

An announcement of the discovery, made by the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP), first appeared in the Guardian . MAP has discovered more than 60 historic shipwrecks during a three-year survey of the Black Sea.

The 75-foot-long ship, documented by a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) equipped with cameras, appears similar to merchant vessels depicted on ancient Greek vases. A small piece of the wreck was raised and radiocarbon dated to around the fifth century B.C ., a time when Greek city-states were frequently trading between the Mediterranean and their colonies along the Black Sea coast. ( Read more about the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project. )

While older intact sailing vessels have been recovered from Egyptian burial sites on land, it is unusual for submerged ancient wrecks to be preserved so well. The unique preservation of the 2,400-year-old ship is due to the unusual water chemistry of the Black Sea and the lack of oxygen below 600 feet. This anoxic layer , which makes up nearly 90 percent of the sea’s volume, prevents physical and chemical processes that cause organic decay to take place. ( See more shipwrecks discovered by the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project. )

National Geographic Archaeologist-in-Residence Fredrik Hiebert , who has searched for Black Sea shipwrecks on an earlier National Geographic-sponsored expedition , says the new discovery reinforces the idea that the anoxic waters of the Black Sea “are an incredibly rich museum of human history.”

“This wreck shows the unprecedented potential for preservation in the Black Sea, which has been a critical crossroads of world cultures for thousands of years,” Hiebert says.

“It’s an incredible find.”

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BLACK SEA is a 33.0 m Sail Yacht, built in Turkey by Etemoglu and delivered in 2008.

Her power comes from a diesel engine. She can accommodate up to 10 guests, with 4 crew members waiting on their every need. She has a gross tonnage of 140.0 GT and a 7.8 m beam.

The naval architecture was developed by Ismail Ozyurt , who has architected 4 other superyachts in the BOAT Pro database - she is built with a Wood deck, a Wood hull, and Wood superstructure.

BLACK SEA is one of 387 sailing yachts in the 30-35m size range.

BLACK SEA is currently sailing under the Turkey flag, the 10th most popular flag state for superyachts with a total of 191 yachts registered. She is known to be an active superyacht and has most recently been spotted cruising near Turkey. For more information regarding BLACK SEA's movements, find out more about BOAT Pro AIS .

Specifications

  • Name: BLACK SEA
  • Yacht Type: Sail Yacht
  • Yacht Subtype: Motorsailer
  • Builder: Etemoglu
  • Naval Architect: Ismail Ozyurt

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Russia lost a third of its Black Sea Fleet warships before top brass decided to take Ukraine's naval drones more seriously

  • Ukraine has found repeated success in the Black Sea by using naval drones to hammer Russian ships.
  • As of last month, Russia had already lost a third of its Black Sea Fleet, officials said.
  • This has forced Moscow's top brass to look into better ways to protect its warships from drones.

Insider Today

It took losing a third of its Black Sea Fleet for Russia's military leadership to decide that it should take Ukraine's naval drones a bit more seriously than it has been.

Kyiv, which lacks a proper navy , has relied heavily on an arsenal of uncrewed surface vessels , or USVs, packed with explosives to damage and sink Russian warships in the Black Sea. Moscow has so far been unable to consistently defend against this asymmetrical style of warfare.

Amid these mounting losses, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stepped in to announce a new set of protective measures for his naval assets.

Russia's defense ministry said Sunday that Shoigu visited the Black Sea Fleet's command post, located on the occupied Crimean peninsula, to discuss the Ukrainian drone attacks and how Moscow can better protect its warships and infrastructure.

During his visit, Shoigu said it is "necessary" for naval crews to train every day so they better prepare for drone attacks from the air and sea, according to a statement from Russia's defense ministry. He also ordered the installation of "large-caliber machine gun small arms systems," although it was not immediately clear where these would be placed or what specific types would be used.

British intelligence noted Shoigu's recent visit, saying it was ultimately prompted by the Ukrainian military's continued success in the Black Sea.

"With Ukraine continuing to seek out opportunities to strike at distance," Britain's defense ministry wrote in a Tuesday intelligence update , Russia "has been prompted to increase its efforts to preserve its fleet in the Black Sea."

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The Russian navy, Britain added, "has highly likely resorted to limiting its operations to the eastern Black Sea as its losses mount, and its threat perceptions increase."

Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, suggested that Shoigu may also use the outcome of his visit for personal gain or to shield himself from criticism.

"Shoigu's posturing to protect the BSF sets conditions for Shoigu to either take credit should the BSF become more effective at protecting itself against Ukrainian strikes or blame other commanders should the BSF fail in this effort," the analysts wrote in a Sunday assessment .

Ukraine introduced its naval drones in late 2022 and has since used these systems to batter the Black Sea Fleet, forcing some of it to relocate to mainland Russia and away from the vulnerable headquarters at Sevastopol. Through its attacks, Kyiv has managed to open up a maritime corridor in the region, which is crucial for its economy.

It's unclear if the new efforts announced by Shoigu this week will yield any significant results, especially if they don't include sufficiently capable weaponry or electronic warfare capabilities.

A general in the Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, previously told Business Insider that Russia at one point had deployed machine gun crews on its warships in a bid to better protect its forces. Ukraine, likewise, has increased the capabilities of its naval drone boats.

But these efforts have essentially proven to be fruitless , as video footage has shown. Kyiv has managed to take out roughly a third of the Black Sea Fleet's vessels in the first two years of the full-scale war, officials revealed last month.

The Black Sea fight is one battlespace where the Ukrainians have found tremendous success over the past year amid shortcomings on the ground. Kyiv's forces failed to achieve a major breakthrough during their much-anticipated counteroffensive last summer, which paved the way for Russia to follow up with its renewed offensive .

Over the past few weeks, Russia has made some noteworthy territorial gains in eastern Ukraine as Kyiv faces dwindling firepower and uncertainty over the future of Western support, particularly from the US — its biggest provider of military aid.

Watch: Video of Russian naval ship explosion shows a much-needed win for Ukraine

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Black Sea Yachts Shipyard was established in 2006, combining age-old tradition of shipbuilding and the European approach to the quality and reliability of manufactured yachts. The cradle was a city founded as a shipyard in 1787, and brought up many generations of yachtsmen and professionals of shipbuilding.

Yachts Black Sea Yachts are built of steel and aluminium A-class, area of navigation is unlimited. The entire process – from the planning stage to the descent of the yachts into the water is controlled by the European classification society, which the customer chooses.

One of the features of the shipyard – the construction of motor yachts and sailboats. Own design office with a team of experienced marine engineers gives the opportunity to create the yacht has an excellent seakeeping, quality and reliability.

Black Sea Yachts Shipyard offers its customers custom and semi-custom yachts, which, despite its small size of up to 40 meters, the level of saturation of high-tech, and finish not inferior to large super yachts manufacturers in the world.

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Ukraine says it hit two Russian warships in strikes on Crimea

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Ukrainian navy says a third of Russian warships in the Black Sea have been destroyed or disabled

FILE - A sea drone cruises on the water during a presentation by Ukraine's Security Service in Kyiv region, Ukraine, on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)

FILE - A sea drone cruises on the water during a presentation by Ukraine’s Security Service in Kyiv region, Ukraine, on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)

An engineer assembles an antenna for guiding an exploding drone in Kyiv region, Ukraine, on Saturday, February 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

A worker stores mortar shells at a factory in Ukraine, on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

FILE - Local fishermen try to catch fish in front of Russia Navy ships in Sevastopol, Crimea, Oct. 27, 2014. Successful Ukrainian drone and missile strikes have provided a major morale boost for Kyiv at a time when its undermanned and under-gunned forces are facing Russian attacks along the more than 1,000-kilometer front line. Challenging Russia’s naval superiority also has helped create more favorable conditions for Ukrainian grain exports and other shipments from the country’s Black Sea ports. (AP Photo/File)

FILE - In this photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Feb. 10, 2022, the Russian navy’s amphibious assault ship Kaliningrad sails into the Sevastopol harbor in Crimea. Successful Ukrainian drone and missile strikes have provided a major morale boost for Kyiv at a time when its undermanned and under-gunned forces are facing Russian attacks along the more than 1,000-kilometer front line. Challenging Russia’s naval superiority also has helped create more favorable conditions for Ukrainian grain exports and other shipments from the country’s Black Sea ports. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - This image taken from video shows smoke rising from the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea. Sept. 22, 2023. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has suffered heavy damage from Ukrainian drone and missile attacks. (Crimean Telegram channel via AP, File)

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine has sunk or disabled a third of all Russian warships in the Black Sea in just over two years of war, the navy spokesman said Tuesday, a heavy blow to Moscow’s military capability.

Ukraine’s Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk told The Associated Press that the latest strike on Saturday night hit the Russian amphibious landing ship Kostiantyn Olshansky that was resting in dock in Sevastopol in Russia-occupied Crimea. The ship was part of the Ukrainian navy before Russia captured it while annexing the Black Sea peninsula in 2014.

Pletenchuk has previously announced that two other landing ships of the same type, Azov and Yamal, also were damaged in Saturday’s strike along with the Ivan Khurs intelligence ship.

He told the AP that the weekend attack, which was launched with Ukraine-built Neptune missiles, also hit Sevastopol port facilities and an oil depot.

Russian authorities reported a massive Ukrainian attack on Sevastopol over the weekend but didn’t acknowledge any damage to the fleet.

Pletenchuk said that with the latest attack, a third of all warships that Russian had in the Black Sea before the war have been destroyed or disabled. At the same time, he acknowledged that just two of about a dozen of Russian missile carrying warships have been sunk and pledged that Ukraine will continue the strikes.

FILE - French soldiers fire a French-made CAESAR self-propelled howitzer during the Spring Storm 2023 military drills, the largest annual exercise of Estonian Defence Forces, near Tapa, Estonia on May 25, 2023. France will soon be able to deliver 78 Caesar howitzers to Ukraine and will boost its supply of shells to meet Kyiv's urgent needs for ammunition to fight Russia's two-year invasion, the defense minister said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits, file)

“Our ultimate goal is complete absence of military ships of the so-called Russian Federation in the Azov and Black Sea regions,” Pletenchuk told the AP.

Successful Ukrainian drone and missile strikes have provided a major morale boost for Kyiv at a time when its undermanned and under-gunned forces are facing Russian attacks along the more than 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) front line.

Challenging Russia’s naval superiority also has helped create more favorable conditions for Ukrainian grain exports and other shipments from the country’s Black Sea ports.

Moscow officials have kept mum on most of Ukrainian claims, but previous navy losses have been confirmed by Russian military bloggers and media who have harshly criticized the military brass for its slow and sloppy response to the threat.

Earlier this month, Russian media reported that the navy chief, Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, had been fired and replaced with Adm. Alexander Moiseyev, the commander of Russia’s Northern Fleet. The Kremlin hasn’t yet announced the reshuffle, but last week Moiseyev was presented as the new acting navy chief during a ceremony at a Russian naval base.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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Winnie the Pooh Charter Yacht

NOT FOR CHARTER *

This Yacht is not for Charter*

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Winnie the Pooh

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WINNIE THE POOH yacht NOT for charter*

25.1m  /  82'4 | black sea yachts | 2012.

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The 25.1m/82'4" motor yacht 'Winnie the Pooh' (ex. ARSI) was built by Black Sea Yachts . This luxury vessel's exterior design is the work of Ginton Naval Architects.

Guest Accommodation

Winnie the Pooh has been designed to comfortably accommodate up to 8 guests in 4 suites comprising one VIP cabin. She is also capable of carrying up to 2 crew onboard to ensure a relaxed luxury yacht experience.

Range & Performance

Winnie the Pooh is built with a steel hull and aluminium superstructure, with teak decks. Powered by twin diesel Volvo Penta (D9 MH) 425hp engines, she comfortably cruises at 9 knots, reaches a maximum speed of 12 knots. Her water tanks store around 5,400 Litres of fresh water.

*Charter Winnie the Pooh Motor Yacht

Motor yacht Winnie the Pooh is currently not believed to be available for private Charter. To view similar yachts for charter , or contact your Yacht Charter Broker for information about renting a luxury charter yacht.

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Ukraine Strikes Yet Another Ship in Russia's Black Sea Fleet

U kraine has taken out another one of Russia's Black Sea Fleet landing ships, according to Kyiv, after Ukrainian forces destroyed two large landing ships and a key Russian reconnaissance vessel.

The Konstantin Olshansky landing ship "is not combat-capable" following the strike, Ukrainian navy spokesperson Captain Dmytro Pletenchuk told Ukrainian media.

Ukraine's navy said in a statement published on Tuesday that Kyiv had "successfully destroyed" the Konstantin Olshansky, and the three other vessels it targeted since Saturday.

Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment via email.

Kyiv's military said Sunday it attacked two of Russia's large landing ships, the Yamal and the Azov , in strikes on the Crimean port city of Sevastopol. Ukraine also said it had targeted a Russian communications hub and other, unspecified infrastructure facilities.

In a later statement, Pletenchuk said the Ivan Khurs reconnaissance ship may have sustained damage. It was one of two of this type of reconnaissance vessel at Russia's disposal, Marina Miron, a post-doctoral researcher with the War Studies Department at King's College London told Newsweek earlier this week.

Ukraine's navy is small, but Kyiv has been inventive in its use of missiles and naval drones against Moscow's Black Sea Fleet, partially based in Crimea. Russia's military has been ill-equipped to fend off Ukraine's frequent attacks, sustaining heavy losses in sharp contrast to the grinding success Moscow has had in gaining territory in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials estimate that Russia has lost up to a third of its Black Sea Fleet at Kyiv's hands.

Ukraine used a home-grown Neptune anti-ship missile to strike the Konstantin Olshansky , which was being "prepared for use against Ukraine," Pletenchuk said. Russia's military took the ship from Ukraine's forces in 2014 when the Kremlin annexed the Crimean peninsula to the south of mainland Ukraine.

Ukraine's Neptune anti-ship missiles were credited with sinking Russia's Black Sea Fleet flagship, the Moskva , in April 2022.

Pletenchuk said the attack on the Konstantin Olshansky landing ship had taken place on Saturday, the same day as the strikes on the Yamal and Azov , according to Ukrainian media.

Open-source intelligence accounts and Russian military bloggers reported that Ukraine had used Western-supplied air-launched Storm Shadow and SCALP cruise missiles to strike the Crimean port on Saturday. A total of 18 missiles rained down on Sevastopol, and Russian air defenses intercepted 11 of the missiles, according to the independent Russian outlet Astra.

Kyiv's military intelligence agency said on Monday that the Yamal was in a "critical" condition.

The Yamal and the Azov were Ropucha -class vessels, playing an "important role" in Russian logistics, said Sidharth Kaushal, research fellow in sea power at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank in London.

The loss of several Ropucha -class vessels will hinder Russian logistics, Kaushal told Newsweek . "They are the key logistical contribution the Black Sea Fleet makes to the wider war effort, linking Crimea to the mainland."

Ukraine's successful targeting of the ships will likely force Moscow to transport its supplies by land, increasing Russia's reliance on key routes like the Crimea Bridge that links the Russian Krasnodar region with Crimea, he said.

Ukraine has jeopardized Russia's operations in the northwestern Black Sea and has forced Moscow to relocate some of its Black Sea assets further away from Ukraine's reach to its Novorossiysk base.

Reports have also suggested the Kremlin is planning a new military base at the port of Ochamchire in Abkhazia , a breakaway region of Georgia. This would put Russian Black Sea assets even further from Ukraine's coastline.

The British Defense Ministry evaluated last week that Russia had likely restricted most of its operations to the eastern Black Sea.

Russia has employed decoys to confuse Kyiv's operators, British intelligence assessed last week. Moscow has announced it will beef up the protection around its fleet with large-caliber machine guns to shoot down incoming naval drones before they strike Russian vessels.

Update 3/26/24, 10:20 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from Sidharth Kaushal.

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Ukrainian navy says a third of Russian warships in the Black Sea have been destroyed or disabled

Ukraine's navy spokesman says that Ukrainian forces have sunk or disabled a third of all Russian warships in the Black Sea, a major blow to Moscow’s military capability as the war has dragged into a third year

KYIV, Ukraine -- Ukraine has sunk or disabled a third of all Russian warships in the Black Sea in just over two years of war, the navy spokesman said Tuesday, a heavy blow to Moscow's military capability.

Ukraine’s Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk told The Associated Press that the latest strike on Saturday night hit the Russian amphibious landing ship Kostiantyn Olshansky that was resting in dock in Sevastopol in Russia-occupied Crimea. The ship was part of the Ukrainian navy before Russia captured it while annexing the Black Sea peninsula in 2014.

Pletenchuk has previously announced that two other landing ships of the same type, Azov and Yamal, also were damaged in Saturday's strike along with the Ivan Khurs intelligence ship.

He told the AP that the weekend attack, which was launched with Ukraine -built Neptune missiles, also hit Sevastopol port facilities and an oil depot.

Russian authorities reported a massive Ukrainian attack on Sevastopol over the weekend but didn't acknowledge any damage to the fleet.

Pletenchuk said that with the latest attack, a third of all warships that Russian had in the Black Sea before the war have been destroyed or disabled. At the same time, he acknowledged that just two of about a dozen of Russian missile carrying warships have been sunk and pledged that Ukraine will continue the strikes.

“Our ultimate goal is complete absence of military ships of the so-called Russian Federation in the Azov and Black Sea regions," Pletenchuk told the AP.

Successful Ukrainian drone and missile strikes have provided a major morale boost for Kyiv at a time when its undermanned and under-gunned forces are facing Russian attacks along the more than 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) front line.

Challenging Russia’s naval superiority also has helped create more favorable conditions for Ukrainian grain exports and other shipments from the country’s Black Sea ports.

Moscow officials have kept mum on most of Ukrainian claims, but previous navy losses have been confirmed by Russian military bloggers and media who have harshly criticized the military brass for its slow and sloppy response to the threat.

Earlier this month, Russian media reported that the navy chief, Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, had been fired and replaced with Adm. Alexander Moiseyev, the commander of Russia's Northern Fleet. The Kremlin hasn't yet announced the reshuffle, but last week Moiseyev was presented as the new acting navy chief during a ceremony at a Russian naval base.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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Russia’s Black Sea Naval Ambitions

Ukraine has busted up most of the black sea fleet. russia is plotting a comeback..

  • Jack Detsch
  • Robbie Gramer
  • Rishi Iyengar
  • Amy Mackinnon

Russia’s War in Ukraine

Understanding the conflict two years on .

More on this topic

Welcome back to Foreign Policy ’s SitRep. It’s been a busy week around here. Robbie’s writing from the South Caucasus, where he’s been traveling with top NATO officials, while Jack just got back from two days with the U.S. Army’s top officer testing out robots in the California desert.

Alright, here’s what’s on tap for the day: Russia wants a new naval base on the Black Sea , China may be on track for an invasion of Taiwan , and fake news is becoming a big problem in Africa .

Russia’s New Black Sea Ambitions

Over two years into the war in Ukraine, Kyiv has decimated Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, destroying or damaging numerous powerful Russian warships, pushing them from their main Crimean base of Sevastopol , and leaving Moscow scrambling to reshape its naval strategy as well as look for safer harbors.

To accomplish that last goal, the Kremlin has set its sights on Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia along the Black Sea coast. Late last year, in a move that alarmed officials in Georgia and the West, Russia confirmed plans to construct a new Black Sea naval base in Abkhazia as an alternative safe harbor for Russian warships, farther than the Crimean Peninsula from the threat of Ukrainian drones and missiles.

So far, officials in the region said, that base consists of just one long pier and a lot of big talk by Moscow and its puppet government in Abkhazia about drastically expanding the base’s infrastructure.

That could change soon if Russia begins pouring resources into the project in earnest, current and former Georgian officials said—and they concede that they’re effectively powerless to stop it given Russia’s control over Abkhazia.

NATO chief visits the South Caucasus. Russia’s Black Sea ambitions were a main topic of conversation for NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and top Georgian officials during his high-profile visit to Tbilisi on Monday, part of a bigger tour of the South Caucasus this week that also included stops in Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Robbie joined Stoltenberg on his trip. Amid a dizzying schedule jampacked with meetings (and coffee) and more meetings (and more coffee), he caught up with Stoltenberg and other current and former officials in Tbilisi on the future of Russia’s Black Sea ambitions.

“Russia’s war puts freedom of navigation in the Black Sea at risk,” Stoltenberg said, though he touted Ukraine’s recent naval successes that threw a wrench in Moscow’s best-laid plans. That includes destroying 15 Russian naval vessels, according to Ukrainian officials, including in 2022 sinking the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship, the Moskva . “With our support, Ukraine has pushed back, destroyed, or damaged a significant part of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet,” Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg’s visit was a big deal in Georgia, which has long aspired to join NATO to cement its Western orientation and get out from under the threat of Russian domination but has been stuck in the accession waiting room for the better part of two decades. Stoltenberg visited Tbilisi to reinforce the message that Georgia would one day join NATO, though most officials concede privately that that’s a long way off, particularly as war rages in Ukraine.

NATO flags lined Tbilisi’s main streets as Stoltenberg’s motorcade drove through the city, and throngs of press and photographers covered his every meeting with top Georgian officials. Beyond the compounds of the prime minister and president’s office, buildings were adorned with anti-Russian graffiti and Ukrainian flags, a not-so-subtle signal of where much of Georgia’s population stands on the current war.

Black Sea backup plans. The planned Russian naval base in Abkhazia is emblematic of the challenges Georgia faces in trying to join NATO, and of how the war in Ukraine has altered the geopolitics of the South Caucasus.

The bottom line is that a Russian naval base in Abkhazia couldn’t replace Sevastopol’s deep-sea port capabilities, even with years and perhaps a decade of construction and dredging.

“A new base will certainly strengthen [Russia’s] posture in the eastern half of the Black Sea region” if it indeed follows through on such plans, said Emil Avdaliani, a professor of international relations at the European University in Tbilisi. But, he added, “Whatever the base is in Abkhazia in several years’ time, it is unlikely to replace Russia’s use of Crimean ports in its military calculations.”

“At best, the naval base in Abkhazia will be complementary,” Avdaliani said.

But it could still become a potent staging ground for the next phase of Russia’s power projection in the Black Sea—and a new way to ramp up pressure on Georgia.

Even if an Abkhazia base can’t completely replace Sevastopol, it can still help Moscow retain its geopolitical edge in the region, said Georgian and NATO officials.

Touting plans for a naval base enables Moscow to remind Georgia—and, by extension, NATO and the European Union—that despite Russia’s ongoing military quagmire in Ukraine, it still aims to strengthen its grip over the breakaway territories of Georgia that it supported in its 2008 invasion. (That invasion, shortly after NATO declared Georgia and Ukraine would one day join the alliance, served as a grim harbinger of the bigger war to come in Ukraine.)

Blocking the “Middle Corridor.” Georgia has ambitious plans to establish itself as a key node in the “Middle Corridor” transit route that links European and Asian energy markets and economies via the South Caucasus while, crucially, bypassing Russia altogether. This is an opportunity that came about when Europe started decoupling from Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

(The Georgian government, analysts say, also hopes the West can overlook its worrying backsliding on democracy given its strategic importance along the Middle Corridor.)

What’s good for the Middle Corridor is, by extension, bad for Russia and its goal of retaining control in the South Caucasus. A new naval base couldn’t completely derail the Middle Corridor plans, but it could at least slow or complicate them.

As part of its Middle Corridor ambitions, Georgia has long-standing plans to build its own deep-sea commercial port on the Black Sea.

The construction of a new Russian naval base a few miles up the coast from that would be bad for business, and Moscow even just talking about plans to do so is likely giving companies interested in developing a commercial port with Georgia second thoughts.

That seems to be Russia’s immediate aim. “In the short run, it’s more about blackmailing and trying to put pressure on Georgia and its Middle Corridor plans than a major base replacement plan,” David Sikharulidze, a former Georgian defense minister and ambassador to Washington, told SitRep.

“However, it should be taken seriously in the longer-term perspective, because the Kremlin may start placing naval infrastructure there if there is not enough pressure from the West on the occupied territories of Georgia and a political and economic price to pay for this.”

Let’s Get Personnel

U.S. President Joe Biden has nominated Michael Sulmeyer to be assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy. Sulmeyer is currently the principal cyber advisor to Army Secretary Christine Wormouth.

Rush Doshi is set to join Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service as an assistant professor in security studies this fall. Doshi was the deputy senior director for China and Taiwan affairs on the National Security Council until earlier this year.

Doshi and Sue Mi Terry have also joined the Council on Foreign Relations as fellows. Terry, who comes from the Wilson Center, will be a senior fellow for Korea studies.

David Cattler has been appointed director of the U.S. Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency. He was previously NATO’s assistant secretary-general for intelligence and security.

Spencer P. Boyer has joined DGA-Albright Stonebridge Group as a partner leading the firm’s new national security, defense, and aerospace practice. He was previously deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO policy at the Pentagon.

Farah Dakhlallah has been appointed NATO’s new spokesperson.

On the Button

What should be high on your radar, if it isn’t already.

Preparing for war. China’s military and nuclear buildup is as large as any seen since World War II, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command chief Adm. John Aquilino told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, and “all indications” suggest that the country’s military is on track to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping’s directive to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027.

The U.S. military has been observing increasingly worrying signs from China, Aquilino said, including simulating air and naval blockades of Taiwan as well as adding more than 400 fighter jets and 20 major warships since he took command in 2021. The Chinese military has also doubled the number of cruise and ballistic missiles in its arsenal since 2020.

Equally worrying to U.S. officials are China’s alliances with Russia and North Korea. “We’re almost back to the ‘axis of evil’ when you plug in Iran to this problem set,” Aquilino said . “So we ought to act accordingly.”

Getting spoofed. Civilian aircraft flying near war zones in the Middle East and northern Europe are getting caught up in potentially dangerous GPS spoofing incidents, our colleague Amy Mackinnon reports . Last August, pilots in the Middle East said their navigation systems had been overtaken by spoofed GPS signals, putting them far off course and, in some instances, causing them to lose the ability to navigate. “It’s not an idle problem. This could lead to real international incidents,” Todd Humphreys, a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, told Amy.

Fake news, real problems. Disinformation campaigns are surging across Africa, with a fourfold increase since 2022, according to a new report by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, a congressionally funded institution within the Department of Defense. The majority of these campaigns—nearly 60 percent—are sponsored by foreign states, with Russia taking the lead as the primary purveyor of disinformation on the continent. West Africa, which has seen a spate of coups in recent years, has been a particular target.

“There is a strong link between the scope of disinformation and instability,” with real-world consequences, the report notes. “Disinformation campaigns have directly driven deadly violence, promoted and validated military coups, cowed civil society members into silence, and served as smokescreens for corruption and exploitation.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan (R) meets with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on March 20. EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Our Foreign Policy colleague Rishi Iyengar interviewed U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the top Democrat on the House China committee who helped craft a high-profile new bill that could ban the popular app TikTok in the United States if its parent company, the China-based ByteDance, doesn’t divest itself of the app. The two spoke shortly after the bill passed the House in a 352-65 vote. Here’s what the congressman had to say:

Foreign Policy: How are you feeling after the vote?

Krishnamoorthi: I’m feeling good. I think that it was a vote that surprised a lot of people in terms of how lopsided it was. It was an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. In this particular case, I think people understood the gravity of the national security concerns and the careful balancing of those concerns against people’s rights to free expression, and of course trying to make sure the TikTok platform continues to operate.

Foreign Policy: How do you feel about the bill’s path forward?

Krishnamoorthi: I’m cautiously optimistic. I think that we’ve had multiple very positive conversations in the Senate. That being said, we very much want to respect the process that leader [Chuck] Schumer is going to set forth for consideration of the bill, and we look forward to talking to him and others about how to proceed.

Foreign Policy: What do you make of the Biden campaign’s continued use of TikTok, and former U.S. President Donald Trump’s sudden backtracking on a TikTok ban?

Krishnamoorthi: First of all, if I might just say one thing, which is this is not about a ban, it’s about a divestiture. And it’s really not about TikTok; it’s about ByteDance.

With regard to President Biden, I think that obviously it’s still legal, and tens of millions of people have it on their phones. I would just ask them to exercise caution when using it. I don’t have it on my personal phone, it’s banned from government devices, and so I think that the risks are present. You just have to be very, very careful.

I think with regards to President Trump, I can’t quite understand his flip-flop. Some people chalk it up to some election politics, maybe a campaign donation, who knows? It did not sway, as you can tell, my House colleagues on the other side.

Foreign Policy: How concerned are you that TikTok can just play the waiting game and drag this out to the November election and sort of reset the clock based on who wins? Is that something you’ve thought about?

Krishnamoorthi: Oh, I certainly think that they are contemplating that. The challenge for them is it’s not every day you get 352 people in the House to agree on something. So when you see the freight train coming down the track, the question is: Do you get out of the way, or do you get run over? And I just think that they should do whatever they can to address the underlying concern here.

Put on Your Radar

Thursday, March 21: U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visits Guatemala. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg meets with Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob. The foreign ministers of the Visegrad Group countries—the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland— meet in Prague. The European Union begins a two-day leaders’ summit in Brussels, with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres joining as a special guest. Denmark hosts the two-day Copenhagen Climate Ministerial.

Saturday, March 23: Slovakia is set to hold its presidential election, pitting parliament speaker Peter Pellegrini, an ally of Prime Minister Robert Fico, against former Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok, a former diplomat seen as pro-Western.

Sunday, March 24: Senegal holds its rescheduled presidential election, after the country’s top court ruled that President Macky Sall’s plans to hold an election after his term expired were unconstitutional.

Monday, March 25: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Guatemalan President Bernardo Arévalo are set to meet at the White House.

Tuesday, March 26: French President Emmanuel Macron begins a three-day trip to Brazil.

Quote of the Week

“We don’t care about his opinion, we don’t care about his limits, we don’t care about Macron, and we are going to kill all the French soldiers who come to Ukrainian soil.”

—Piotr Tolstoi, vice president of the Russian state Duma, saber-rattles back at Macron, who has suggested that France could deploy troops to Ukraine.

This Week’s Most Read

  • China Is Selectively Bending History to Suit Its Territorial Ambitions by Frederik Kelter
  • The World’s Biggest Crisis Is the End of Scarcity by Francis J. Gavin
  • Russia’s Military Is Already Preparing for Its Next War by Amy Mackinnon

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Overtime. Rep. Darrell Issa of California was running long at the end of a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing—he thought he was the last speaker—when Chairman Michael McCaul interjected and called time. You won’t believe what happened next (warning: foul language ensues).

Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy . Twitter:  @RobbieGramer

Jack Detsch is a Pentagon and national security reporter at Foreign Policy . Twitter:  @JackDetsch

Rishi Iyengar is a reporter at  Foreign Policy . Twitter:  @Iyengarish

Amy Mackinnon is a national security and intelligence reporter at Foreign Policy . Twitter:  @ak_mack

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Homes of Sean 'Diddy' Combs searched by federal officials, sources say

LOS ANGELES — Sean "Diddy" Combs is a subject of a federal investigation amid a wave of lawsuits that have been filed against the rap music mogul since November , a source familiar with the matter told NBC News on Monday.

Three women and a man have been interviewed by federal officials in Manhattan in relation to allegations of sex trafficking, sexual assault, and the solicitation and distribution of illegal narcotics and firearms, the source said. Interviews with three other subjects are also scheduled, the source said.

Four law enforcement sources told NBC News that federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations on Monday executed search warrants at Los Angeles and Miami properties belonging to Combs. The sources said the warrant is out of the Southern District of New York.

police investigate sean puff diddy combs

HSI confirmed in a statement that it "executed law enforcement actions" in New York as part of an ongoing investigation, along with teams in Los Angeles and Miami.

Homeland Security officials seized phones from Combs in Miami before he was scheduled to depart for a trip to the Bahamas, according to three law enforcement sources familiar with the warrant. Combs was in the Miami area when authorities executed the searches, sources said. It is not clear if Combs made the trip as planned.

Representatives for Combs, 54, did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment Monday.

Sean "Diddy" Combs

Series of allegations, lawsuits

News of a federal investigation comes after public scrutiny of Combs’ behavior after his former romantic partner, Cassie, accused him of physically and sexually abusing her for years. She made the allegations in a lawsuit filed late last year in New York under the New York Adult Survivors Act, which offered a one-year window for adult victims of sexual assault to come forward with civil claims regardless of the statute of limitations. 

Cassie, whose full name is Casandra Ventura, settled with Combs on Nov. 17, the day after the suit was filed on terms that have not been disclosed. 

Since then, three other women have come forward with lawsuits in the Southern District of New York alleging that they were sexually assaulted by Combs . Two of the women said they were teenagers at the time of the alleged assaults. 

Douglas Wigdor, who represents Ventura and a Jane Doe who filed suit, said in a statement that the searches and investigation were hopefully the beginning of a process that “will hold Mr. Combs responsible for his depraved conduct.” 

“We will always support law enforcement when it seeks to prosecute those that have violated the law,” Wigdor said.  

An attorney for Joi Dickerson-Neal, one of Combs' accusers, declined to comment to NBC News.

Combs has denied each of the sexual assault allegations, calling them “sickening.” 

A producer who worked for Combs between September 2022 and November 2023 filed a lawsuit in February alleging that Combs sexually harassed, drugged and threatened him for more than a year. The former employee, Rodney “Lil Rod” Jones, also alleged that he had video and audio evidence of Combs, his staff and others “engaging in serious illegal activity.”

Jones' attorney, Tyrone Blackburn, also represents Combs' accuser Liza Gardner. Blackburn said Monday that the federal investigation will not "prevent nor delay my clients’ pending and forthcoming actions for justice and resolution from the Combs RICO Enterprise.”

Shawn Holley, an attorney for Combs, previously denied Jones’ allegations and said that Combs’ team has “overwhelming, indisputable proof that his claims are complete lies.” 

One person who said he frequents the Los Angeles neighborhood where a search happened expressed shock.

Ryan Mendelsohn, 20, who used to live in the area and still regularly visits a nearby friend, told reporters he would see parties at the home and women outside. Other homes had parties, too, but that home had people there and women outside until 6 a.m., which was not usual, he said.

“I drive by a lot, and I see that — a lot of girls, maybe five or six girls outside, some leaving, some not, some going in,” adding he also saw Black Chevy Suburban SUVs there.

“I never thought anything of it,” said Mendelsohn, who said he did not know Combs lived there until Monday’s news coverage. “But now, it’s crazy.”

Weapons charge

Combs has had a number of legal issues in the past , but has rarely faced criminal charges. 

In 1999, Combs pleaded guilty to assaulting a record executive and was ordered to one day of anger management. That same year, Combs was accused of criminal possession of a weapon after a shooting at a New York nightclub. 

Witnesses told law enforcement that they saw Combs with a firearm at the club and that rapper Shyne, real name Moses Barrow fired into the crowd. Combs was pulled over by police in a vehicle with then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, and a gun was found in the car. Combs was acquitted of weapons and bribery charges, and Shyne was found guilty of the club shooting at trial. 

Since Ventura's suit and others have come forward accusing Combs of assault, the music mogul has been the center of scrutiny. He stepped down from his position as chairman of media network Revolt and Hulu pulled back from a planned reality series centered on his family. 

Diana Dasrath and Andrew Blankstein reported from Los Angeles, and Doha Madani and Jonathan Dienst from New York.

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Diana Dasrath is entertainment producer and senior reporter for NBC News covering all platforms.

Doha Madani is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News. Pronouns: she/her.

Andrew Blankstein is an investigative reporter for NBC News. He covers the Western U.S., specializing in crime, courts and homeland security. 

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Jonathan Dienst is chief justice contributor for NBC News and chief investigative reporter for WNBC-TV in New York.

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    Ancient Black Sea shipwreck is unprecedented discovery. Archaeologists say the 2,400-year-old ship is so well preserved that even the mast and rowers' benches have survived for millennia ...

  10. BLACK SEA yacht (Etemoglu, 33m, 2008)

    The data for BLACK SEA is taken from BOATPro, the world's leading market intelligence platform, which delivers real-time, accurate and reliable superyacht data. To access our pioneering fleet tracker, brokerage market insight, reports and much more get in touch with the BOATPro team.

  11. Sailing yacht Black Sea Yachts BSY 67

    The Black Sea Yachts BSY 67 was produced by the brand Black Sea Yachts from 2014 to 2017. Black Sea Yachts BSY 67 is a 20.60 meters luxury cruising yacht with a draft of 2.90 meters which can cruise at 9 knots. The yacht has a aluminum and steel hull with a CE certification class (A) and can navigate in the open ocean. ...

  12. FALCON Yacht

    The 25.13m/82'5" motor yacht 'Falcon' was built by Black Sea Yachts. Her interior is styled by design house Black Sea Yachts and she was completed in 2014. This luxury vessel's exterior design is the work of Black Sea Yachts. Range & Performance. Falcon is built with a steel hull and aluminium superstructure, with teak decks.

  13. Russia May Finally Be Taking Black Sea Fleet Losses to Naval Drones

    Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visits the command centre of the Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet at an unknown location, in this still image taken from video released March 17, 2024.

  14. Black Sea Yachts Yachts For Sale and Charter

    Nikolaev, st. Postal 2-B LLC "Black Sea Yacht Shipyard". Black Sea Yachts Shipyard was established in 2006, combining age-old tradition of shipbuilding and the European approach to the quality and reliability of manufactured yachts. The cradle was a city founded as a shipyard in 1787, and brought up many generations of yachtsmen and ...

  15. Black Sea Yachts

    Extra Yachts, a Palumbo Superyachts brand, is set to dazzle boating enthusiasts at the Palm Beach International Boat Show with the US premiere of the new Extra X99 Fast. Presented at the Denison stand, ramp 5, this superyacht promises to redefine luxury and performance on the water.The Extra X99 Fast, a 30-meter model, boasts a planing hull ...

  16. Black Sea Yacht

    Black Sea is a sailing yacht with an overall length of m. The yacht's builder is Etemoglu Boatyard from Turkey, who launched Black Sea in 2008. The superyacht has a beam of m, a draught of m and a volume of . GT.. Black Sea features exterior design by Etemoglu Boatyard. Up to 10 guests can be accommodated on board the superyacht, Black Sea, and she also has accommodation for 4 crew members ...

  17. Motor yacht Falcon

    Falcon is a 25.13 m / 82′6″ luxury motor yacht. She was built by Black Sea Yachts in 2014. With a beam of 6.75 m , she has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. She is powered by Volvo Penta engines of 425 hp each giving her a maximum speed of 11.5 knots and a cruising speed of 10 knots. The motor yacht can accommodate guests in cabins. The yacht was designed by Black Sea Yachts.

  18. Ukraine says it hit two Russian warships in strikes on Crimea

    The Ukrainian military said it hit two large Russian landing ships in attacks on the annexed Crimean peninsula early on Sunday, as well as a communications centre and other infrastructure used by ...

  19. Ukrainian navy says a third of Russian warships in the Black Sea have

    4 of 6 | . FILE - Local fishermen try to catch fish in front of Russia Navy ships in Sevastopol, Crimea, Oct. 27, 2014. Successful Ukrainian drone and missile strikes have provided a major morale boost for Kyiv at a time when its undermanned and under-gunned forces are facing Russian attacks along the more than 1,000-kilometer front line.

  20. a Very Black Sea

    The Black Sea Yacht Club in Odesa was founded in 1875, the first on the Black Sea. This is the training facility for the Ukraine national and Olympic sailing teams with a hundred professional yachtsmen. They have two junior and youth sailing sports schools with 150 children enrolled.

  21. WINNIE THE POOH Yacht

    The 25.1m/82'4" motor yacht 'Winnie the Pooh' (ex. ARSI) was built by Black Sea Yachts. This luxury vessel's exterior design is the work of Ginton Naval Architects. Guest Accommodation. Winnie the Pooh has been designed to comfortably accommodate up to 8 guests in 4 suites comprising one VIP cabin.

  22. Ukraine Strikes Yet Another Ship in Russia's Black Sea Fleet

    Ukrainian officials estimate that Russia has lost up to a third of its Black Sea Fleet at Kyiv's hands. Ukraine used a home-grown Neptune anti-ship missile to strike the Konstantin Olshansky ...

  23. Black Sea Yacht

    Black Sea Yacht Service. "No project is impossible!". The company currently operates three service points in Bulgaria - Varna, Nessebar (and Sozopol), and Ruse (on the Danube river), and a mobile one in Northern Greece operating out of Nea Moudania, Halkidiki. The current yacht portfolio numbers more than 150 vessels, ranging from 7 to 40 ...

  24. Ukrainian says a third of Russian warships in the Black Sea have been

    KYIV, Ukraine -- Ukraine has sunk or disabled a third of all Russian warships in the Black Sea in just over two years of war, the navy spokesman said Tuesday, a heavy blow to Moscow's military ...

  25. Russia's Black Sea Naval Ambitions

    Russia's Black Sea ambitions were a main topic of conversation for NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and top Georgian officials during his high-profile visit to Tbilisi on Monday, part of ...

  26. Sean 'Diddy' Combs homes searched amid allegations of sexual assault

    LOS ANGELES — Sean 'Diddy' Comb's homes are searched and he's under federal investigation after multiple people accused the rap music mogul of abuse, source says