Long Island officials call for Russian complex to be closed

Russians, pack your bags!

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blackman and Representative Lee Zelden called on President Biden on Saturday to expel Russia from the Killinworth complex in Glen Cove that he has owned for seven decades.

“President Biden, he kicked these Russians out of Nassau County,” said Blackman, whose grandparents immigrated from Odessa in Ukraine. “We don’t need them here, and let’s get this property back on the tax rolls, so the people of Nassau County and Glen Cove don’t have to fund thugs, dictators, and people who invade innocent countries.”

He said the county loses $50,000 a year in tax revenue.

Blackman, a Republican, declared that he was standing outside the gate of the 36-acre estate that the Soviet Union had purchased in the late 1940s as the residence of its ambassador to the United Nations, and which was later a haven for its diplomats. But it has long been believed to be also a center for espionage.

“One of the most disturbing things is the fact that we have no idea what they are doing behind these walls; what kind of nefarious activities they might be doing,” Blackman said.

Lee Zelden
Representative Lee Zelden called on President Biden to expel Russia from the Long Island complex.
Newsday via Getty Images
Russian mission
The Long Island estate has long been believed to be a center of espionage.
Photograph: Rashid Omar Abbasi/Reuters

Zeldin, a Republican and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said current sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine are not effective and called for the country to be taken out of the Association for Global Interbank Financial Telecommunication – or SWIFT – as well.

“I think Russia is now a state sponsor of terrorism with their actions,” he said. I think Russia should be cut short with secondary sanctions on its banking system.

Officials surrounded nearly 40 Ukrainian Americans, many of whom were children carrying the country’s blue and yellow flags.

Get the latest Updates In the conflict between Russia and Ukraine with live coverage of the post.

The Russian presence has angered Long Island for years.

Soviet Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev stayed at the 26,459-square-foot Kilnworth Palace during a 1960 United Nations visit, prompting locals to protest with signs calling him a “fat pig killer” and a “fat Russian executioner.”

The United States evicted Russia from another Long Island complex in 2016, Norwich House in Upper Brookville. The Soviet Union bought the 36-room mansion in 1952, also as a purported weekend retreat for its diplomats, but it was actually intended as a spy base, according to the sources.

Nassau County Executive Team, Bruce Blackman
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blackman also called for Russians to be barred from the Glen Cove property.
Newsday via Getty Images

President Obama ordered its closure in response to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

The expulsion of Russia from Kilnworth may be difficult because it is considered a UN mission, According to a report in Newsday,.

There is plenty of precedent for expelling diplomats to the United Nations. “It’s done with other countries,” Zelden said. “The president will absolutely have the power to expel any diplomat we want and need from the United States of America.”

“This is really an issue between the Russian mission to the United Nations and the American authorities,” said one UN representative.

Representatives of the Russian mission and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


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