The European Union has banned investment in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in March.

The European bloc has also banned gas exploration in the surrounding waters, as well as prohibiting European cruise ships from calling in at Crimean ports.

EU governments have signed off on the measures and they will come in to force as soon as Saturday, in a move that reiterates European opposition to the annexation of Crimea and Russia's role in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

More than 4,700 people have been killed in fighting that erupted in April, as pro-Russian separatists seized key cities including Donetsk and Luhansk.

The measures will stop all European companies and individuals from buying property or businesses in Crimea, as well as stopping them from providing finance for any companies based in Crimea.

EU companies will be banned from offering tourism services in Crimea, meaning European cruise ships will not be allowed to dock at Crimean ports.

Moreover, the measures prevent European companies from investing in oil exploration efforts in Crimea and the surrounding waters, thought to be rich in minerals.