Ukraine's president has approved measures to suspend the provision of government services to eastern territories controlled by pro-Russian separatist forces.

Petro Poroshenko's office said in a statement Saturday that state property and employees should be evacuated from the region.

The move fits within a broader strategy of putting economic pressure on rebel-held areas in a bid to undermine the authority of the separatist leadership.

The government earlier this month announced it would freeze budget subsidies for areas not under its control.

Ukraine's eastern regions are among the most economically depressed in the country and living standards have slipped further over six months of hostilities.

A cease-fire was agreed upon in September, but fighting has still continued. More than 4,000 people have been killed in the region since the conflict began.