Putin spoke at a meeting of regional party delegates, the Novosti news agency reported. The icebreakers are important both to Russian claims in the Arctic Sea and to the revival of the Northern Sea Route along the Siberian coast, which is ice free for an average of six weeks a year, he said.
"We will act calmly in this direction, having in mind another component -- a further exploration of the Northern Sea Route," Putin said. "The government, together with state nuclear power corporation Rosatom, should take concrete steps ... from the viewpoint of reviving the nuclear icebreaker fleet."
Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States all have territorial claims in the Arctic. Russia claims jurisdiction over about one-fifth of the area covered by the Arctic Sea, an area that could become open to exploitation for oil and minerals as global warming progresses..