(QHA) -

No normalization of ties between Ukraine and Russia is likely unless the region of Crimea, is returned to Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said on Tuesday.

"There could be no slightest way of normalizing or getting back to business in the relations between Ukraine and Russia without returning to status quo and establishing full Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea," Klimkin told in Tokyo, Reuters reports.

Klimkin, on the second day of his two-day trip to Japan, also said the border between Ukraine and Russia needed to be completely closed to achieve any settlement to the armed conflict between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

He reiterated his government's stance as a ceasefire deal, reached last month in Minsk, is broadly holding on the front line, but fighters in the separatist stronghold of Donetsk are training for another round of clashes against government troops.

Crimea seceded from Ukraine and unified with Russia a year ago, following a local referendum on the region’s status which was condemned illegitimate by Kyiv and the international community.

QHA