PBS Velka Bites and alleged re-export of auxiliary power units to Russia

21. 11. 2023 
Context: On 20 November 2023, The Kyiv Independent (TKI) published a story headlined “Investigation: Czech parts make their way to Russian military helicopters despite sanctions”. The article reported on the alleged re-export of PBS Velká Bíteš products to the Russian Federation. Specifically, it mentioned Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) for Mil Mi-8/17/171 series helicopters, which are among the world's most widely used multi-purpose helicopters. Mr. Roman Steblivsky's article relies on a single source in this matter, namely data from Export Genius, a private commercial database with paid access based in India. This database is owned by an Indian citizen.

PBS Velka Bites strongly rejects this allegation, considering it to be part of a premeditated effort aimed at damaging the reputation of PBS in the eyes of the Ukrainian and international public. This is attributed to PBS's replacement of the Russian APU manufacturer on the global market, particularly in India and Southeast Asia. Additionally, it arises from the company’s increasing supply of engines for cruise missiles to the Ukrainian armed forces, a sector experiencing significant growth. Russia has legitimate concerns about these missiles and their quantities. PBS Velká Bíteš, for both legal and moral reasons, has not cooperated with the Russian Federation in any way since the beginning of the war.

PBS has unique technology and there are only a few manufacturers at the same level. That's why it is also a target.

These are the facts that contradict the allegations about the supposed re-export of PBS Group products to Russia:

  1. PBS Group is a supplier of key components for missiles used by Ukraine. These involve hundreds, with thousands of units in the pipeline. It is not logical that the alleged supply of two dozen APUs would jeopardize this cooperation. Thanks to the cooperation, the PBS Group's plant in Velka Biteš was visited by Minister of Defence Jana Černochová in October. We reported about the visit here: We introduced our plans for the coming years to Jana Cernochova, Minister of Defence.
  1. PBS Group verified the actual delivery of these APUs (each with a unique serial number) and found that they were used in India and Kazakhstan, in accordance with the export declaration and permit. Shipments to Kazakhstan were in compliance with the law, and the entire process was subject to appropriate export controls in both the Czech Republic and Kazakhstan. This is also stated in the letter sent to the Ukrainian state administration, which is supported by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ukraine: Letter sent to the administration of Ukraine with the support of the embassy of the Czech Republic.


  2. The only source of information for the mentioned article is the mentioned private database Export Genius, which is created in an unclear way. Apparently, it somehow downloads or obtains available data from customs reports or elsewhere. The owner of the database has refused to specify how it obtains the data and has explicitly stated that it is unofficial, and that they are not legally responsible for it. Normally, the data are more for users to estimate market developments, where inaccuracies do not play a role. However, in this case the database has been misused deliberately as evidence of circumvention of sanctions. Moreover, the database is not protected against digital attacks and contains other problematic data concerning Russia. For more information on the credibility of the database, see: PBS statement on the Export Genius database, allegedly a source of false information about PBS.
  1. Russia produces, sells and offers an alternative to the mentioned products (APUs) so it does not need to import them. For specific information on Russian APU production, see: PBS is not the exclusive supplier of ABUs for Russian Mil helicopters.
Thus, completely incorrect, and unsubstantiated information has entered the public space, and we feel the need to set these fabrications of the KI article straight.



No - PBS Velka Bites is not cooperating with the Russian Federation in any way, both for legislative and moral reasons.
Each APU product has a unique registration number, based on the basis of which PBS has conducted an investigation to check, to the best of its ability, the actual location of the contested shipments in India and Kazakhstan. It was confirmed that the products in question were indeed used in the specific country of direct export and not elsewhere. The Kyiv Independent article also mentions import companies unknown to PBS, which did not receive any APU supplies from PBS and therefore could not re-export any of our products to the Russian Federation.


It is the PBS Sapphire auxiliary power unit (APU), which supplies AC voltage to the on-board grid and simultaneously supplies electricity and compressed air to start the main engine of the helicopter.
Prior to the Russian Federation's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, APUs from PBS were primarily installed in export versions of helicopters for end-users outside Russia, such as in India. Before the outbreak of war in Ukraine, these devices were supplied to end-users from the Russian Federation for installation in Russia only minimally – Russian manufacturer Aerosila has been supplying its own Aerosila TA-14 APUs for Mi-8/17/171 helicopters destined for the local market for decades.

Currently, PBS Velka Bites exclusively supplies this type of equipment to helicopter users outside Russia.



The claims are based on data from a database that lists unofficial information, apparently sourced from available customs data from a total of 55 countries, including India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Turkey, among others, with the Czech Republic not being among them. The database also includes various other sources, such as statistical data and data from the Suez Canal. However, this is not an official export register. From a legislative point of view, the database is a private entity and therefore does not explicitly guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. The data is not verified in any way and may not correspond to reality. There are several similar databases available, including Import Yeti, Import Genius, ShipmentLink, Trademo, Panjva, GlobalWits and xNova International.
The database was never intended to capture individual trades; its users primarily track trends and volumes. From our perspective, the database has been misused.
According to our internal investigation, we operate on the assumption that the Indian company, Deep Engineering Industries, listed in the database and associated with Russian nationals, deliberately with the aim to harm PBS misrepresented the customs declaration. They stated that the shipment contained APUs manufactured by PBS, when in reality the shipment could have contained any other item and there was no external verification of the entry done by independent entity.

We reiterate that each APU product has a unique registration number, allowing for the traceability of its actual location. An internal PBS investigation confirmed that the products in question were indeed used in the specific country of direct export.


PBS has, to the best of its ability, verified the actual location of the shipments in India and Kazakhstan. The outcome of these checks is satisfactory and there is no reason to believe that there has been any breach of contract by our customers as these are usually end (government) contracts.
At the same time, we have written to the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Kiev to express our concern about this misleading and clearly false claim.
This letter is attached here in full: Letter sent to the administration of Ukraine​.

We will be in communication with the database administrator to clarify the incorrect information regarding our imports to Russia.