Navy Expansion Slowed by Crisis

ST. PETERSBURG -- A plan to expand the Navy could take longer than expected because of the financial slowdown but will still be implemented in full, President Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday.

"Without a proper Navy, Russia does not have a future as a state," Medvedev told cadets at the Nakhimov Naval Academy in St. Petersburg.

"We had difficult times in the 1990s, but now, despite difficulties, the government will indeed invest the funds promised for the Navy," he said. "Perhaps some things will take longer, but [these projects] will be financed."

The Navy announced last July that it planned to receive five or six aircraft carriers in the near future. Russia now has only one aircraft carrier, but it features steam-turbine power, while all modern carriers are nuclear-powered.