MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered surprise military exercises in the Black Sea region involving 7,000 troops and dozens of ships to test the army’s battle readiness, the Kremlin said. The order was presented to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in a sealed envelope at 4:00 am (2400 GMT), Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies, adding the exercises would involve 36 ships and up to 7,000 troops. Peskov indicated that the order was aimed at testing out the battle readiness of the Russian armed forces and said Moscow was not obliged to warn its partners of the plan.