At the request of the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, a court has ordered the arrests of four vessels for violating the procedure for entering and leaving the Russian-occupied peninsula.

The Office of the Prosecutor General announced this in a statement, the CFTS portal reports.

According to the statement, the ships entered the closed Crimean ports and terminals participating in the Russian occupiers’ illegal scheme for transporting Ukrainian grain to third countries, thus serving as a tool for committing crimes.

Under the procedural guidance of the prosecutor's office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, an investigation was launched into the violation of the procedure for entering and leaving the temporarily occupied territory (Section 2, Article 332-1 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code).

The investigation established that the Russian-flagged vessels Matros Pozinich, Mikhail Nenashev, and Matros Koshka, as well as a Syrian vessel, are engaging in systematic illegal activities in the closed Sevastopol seaport.

"The Russian Federation is thus using the Crimean peninsula as a ‘grey zone’ for transporting illegally acquired grain," the statement said.

The captains of the Matros Pozinich and Mikhail Nenashev vessels were recently served with notifications of suspicion as part of these proceedings.

In July 2014, Ukraine officially closed all the ports in the occupied Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and closed the peninsula’s harbors to international shipping. The Autonomous Republic of Crimea’s law enforcement bodies classify the entry of foreign-flagged ships into Crimean seaports as acts that undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and violate its national legislation, which entails criminal liability for ship owners, operators, and captains.

The Security Service of Ukraine’s division for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is conducting the pre-trial investigation.