Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a military drill to test the combat readiness of troops across western Russia, the country's defense minister said Wednesday. The drill comes amid tensions with the European Union and the United States over Ukraine's future following the overthrow of Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych. The western district borders Ukraine, which lies between NATO nations and Russia. Putin has called the former Soviet republic a "brother nation" and wants it to be part of a Eurasian Union he is building in the region. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told a meeting that Putin gave the order at 5 a.m. ET for a drill, the Itar Tass and Interfax news agencies reported. He has ordered several such surprise drills in various parts of Russia since he returned to the presidency in 2012, saying the military must be kept on its toes.