Facebook has deleted a post by Russian journalist Sergei Parkhomenko about Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the commercial plane shot down over eastern Ukraine last summer. Varya Gornostaeva, a contributing editor at Corpus Books, first reported the removal of the Facebook post.
Parkhomenko, who says he doesn’t believe the post violated any of the network’s terms of service, thinks Facebook likely deleted it after a wave of complaints submitted by bots. Facebook has issued no public explanation for the deletion of the text.
Parkhomenko’s post was a response to a leaked report that recently appeared in the newspaper Novaya Gazeta claiming to prove that the missile that brought down MH17 may have been fired by Ukrainian troops. Parkhomenko condemned the document, accusing the Kremlin of leaking it intentionally as a way of acknowledging that the plane was attacked with a Buk missile, as Moscow’s critics have long insisted.
In his now-deleted post, Parkhomenko took aim at Mikhail Leontyev, who infamously reported last fall that MH17 was actually shot down by Ukrainian fighter jets. “Yes, it was a Buk, of course. Why not? After all, we never denied it,” Parkhomenko wrote on Facebook. “But now we’re going to fight a life-or-death struggle to make sure people say it wasn’t OUR Buk. Meaning the jets that supposedly fired on MH17—the ones Mikhail Leontyev saw with his own eyes—simply never existed. They’ve been redacted. Leontyev only dreamed them.”
The full text of Parkhomenko’s Facebook post, in Russian, is still available on the radio station Echo of Moscow's website.
Update: shortly after this article was published, Facebook undeleted Parkhomenko's post. It now appears to be accessible both inside Russia and abroad.
Sergei Parkhomenko has written previously that he is certain MH17 was attacked by a Buk missile fired from pro-Russian separatist-controlled territory. According to research by the Bellingcat project, the Buk was delivered to separatists from Russia.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people onboard. The results of an official investigation have yet to be published.