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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kasyanov Vows Naval Renaissance

ST. PETERSBURG -- Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Friday that modernizing the navy was one of the government's top priorities, and he symbolically launched construction of the first new Russian surface warship to be designed in the decade following the Soviet collapse.

"The modernization program of the Russian navy is currently one of the most important tasks of the state," Kasyanov said at a ceremony at St. Petersburg's Severnaya Verf, or Northern Dockyard, shipbuilding plant, dedicated to the start of construction of the navy corvette Steregushchy, or On Guard.

President Vladimir Putin has vowed to boost funding for the navy, and he launched a new nuclear submarine, the Gepard, or Cheetah, earlier this month.

Kasyanov told naval chiefs Thursday that Russia has turned "a sad historical page in recent years, during which the country's naval potential was deteriorating," Interfax reported.

Alexander Ushakov, the plant's production director, said the new ship is one of the most modern in the world.

"In a rather small body, it has a lot of the most modernized appliances and can carry a large amount of weapons," he said. The 100-meter corvette has a displacement of 2000 metric tons and uses "stealth" technology, making it difficult to track.

The Russian naval chief, Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, asked the plant workers to finish the ship's construction by 2004, a year earlier than the planned time of launching.