The carrier Vikramaditya had propulsion problems during trials in the Barents Sea last month, RIA Novosti reported.
Andrei Dyachkov, president of United Russian Shipbuilding, which refitted the ship, said earlier this month "substandard Chinese firebricks" had damaged the boilers the company was supposed to insulate.
Chinese Defense Minister Yan Yujun turned aside the claim, saying "Chinese enterprises" have never exported such products to Russia."
Another official involved in retrofitting the ship blamed India.
He said the boilers failed because India refused to use asbestos to protect the structure around the boilers from heat, so designers were forced to use the firebricks.
The boiler problem adds to a list of delays and cost overruns the ship has experienced since India agreed to buy the carrier from Russia in 2005 for $947 million. Delivery has been postponed twice, pushing the cost of refurbishing the ship to $2.3 billion. The new deadline is October 2013.
The carrier, christened the Admiral Gorshkov when launched in 1982, was renamed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It was put up for sale in 1996.