In a reference to Russia’s ambitions in the Arctic, where Moscow plans to expand its claims, Putin said the navy would protect Moscow’s interests in the icy North.
“Obviously, the navy is an instrument to protect national economic interests, including in such regions as Arctic where some of the world’s richest biological resources, mineral resources are concentrated,” he said.
Moscow has planned to submit a claim this year to redraw the map of the Arctic and give itself a bigger swath of the territory, which could hold huge deposits of oil, gas and mineral wealth.
Russia, Norway, the United States, Canada and Denmark are at odds over how to divide up the Arctic seabed, thought to hold 90 billion barrels of oil and 30 percent of the world’s untapped gas resources, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Russia has said it will spend millions of dollars on studies to prove that an underwater mountain range - rich in oil, natural gas and mineral deposits - is part of its own Eurasian landmass.
Canada and Denmark reject the claim, saying the geographical formation, known as the Lomonosov Ridge, which stretches across the Arctic Sea, is a geographical extension of their own land.
The Borei submarine project, started shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, had long been plagued by shortages of cash and furthermore by failures in testing the Bulava missile.
The first two Borei class submarine built, the Yury Dolgoruky and Alexander Nevsky are expected to enter service this summer, Russia’s Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was quoted as saying earlier this year.