"According to the foreign diplomatic institutions of Ukraine in Italy, about 40 citizens of Ukraine were detained and arrested in Italy in 2014-2016 on suspicion of transporting illegal migrants," official representative of the consular service Vasyl Kyrylych told UNIAN

Read alsoUkrainian smugglers use luxury yachts to bring illegal migrants into EU – media"All the arrested reported a similar scheme of hiring [them] for work: unknown persons in some cities of Ukraine posted an announcement on the Internet offering work in the tourist sphere, in particular, transportation of tourists on a yacht," the diplomat said.

"Upon arrival [in Italy], they were met by individuals who offered work to transport tourists. These individuals compelled Ukrainian crew members of yachts to take on board persons who were supposedly tourists and should be brought to a certain destination," he continued.

"It turned out that their mission was different. That mission was regarded by the law enforcement agencies as the violation of that country's legislation," Kyrylych added.

In his words, consular officials established contacts with the Italian authorities and also sent those agencies inquiries into the detention of the abovementioned Ukrainian citizens.

Read alsoSeven suspected Ukrainian illegal immigrants detained in UK – mediaSimultaneously, they contacted lawyers who provided legal protection in this matter and advised the families of the Ukrainian citizens in the current situation.

"Consular officials are in constant touch with all prisoners from Ukraine and provide consular protection," Kyrylych said.

The case is still being investigated, he added.