A Russian deputy says that a boat service has been restored between Turkey and the Crimean region annexed by the Kremlin.

Russian State Duma deputy Ruslan Balbek wrote Tuesday on Facebook that the Varyag ship arrived in the Turkish port of Zonguldak earlier this month after leaving Crimea. Balbek described the voyage as "battering a hole" in Western sanctions on Russia imposed after the 2014 annexation.

Relations between Moscow and Ankara have warmed in recent months after the two country's leaders met in October and settled a spat over Turkey shooting down a Russian jet over Syria.

A Ukrainian court ordered the seizure of the Varyag earlier this month for illegally using Crimean ports.

Ukraine and Turkey do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.