President Vladimir Putin says the Russian military in Crimea has proven its capability during war games this week.

Putin spoke during Thursday's conference call with his top military leaders, who were overseeing maneuvers on the Black Sea Peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in March 2014.

The drills in Crimea are part of a massive exercise across southwestern Russia this week that involves troops of the Southern Military District. The Defense Ministry said the maneuvers involve up to 8,500 troops, 900 ground weapons, 200 warplanes and about 50 warships in the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

Putin said the maneuvers have demonstrated the military's "readiness to firmly ensure Russia's security" in its southwest, including Crimea. He added that the defense ministry should continue holding such exercises.