The following day, the UN Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (Unikom) announced that it was suspending its operations patrolling the demilitarised zone along the Iraq-Kuwait border. Many non-essential staff had already been withdrawn from the mission. Meanwhile the UK advised all British citizens to leave Kuwait and the US told all non-essential personnel to evacuate Israel, Syria and Kuwait. ‘If you are already in Kuwait you should leave urgently while commercial flights remain available,’ the UK embassy said in a statement. ‘The threat to British individuals and organisations from terrorism is now high [and] will rise further in the event of hostilities with Iraq.’ Russia took the same step: ‘In connection with a worsening of the situation surrounding Iraq, the Russian Foreign Ministry recommends that Russian citizens leave Iraq and avoid making trips to the region,’ the ministry said on 17 March.