Much about Ukraine and its strategic peninsula, Crimea, is in the news these days. George Mason University reported in 2005 that historian researchers in Russia have fingered the Vatican as the cause of the Crimean war in the 1850s.
In the archives of the Russian Empire, scholars discovered documents that “shed light on the conflict between Pope Pius IX and Napoleon III (nephew of Napoleon I) on one hand and the Orthodox clerics of the Jerusalem Church and Emperor Nicholas I, on the other.” The strife between church clerics over Christian rights of holy places in Jerusalem drew the warriors into the fight in Crimea. On one hand the Russians defended the rights of the Orthodox and the French defended the rights of the pope and the Catholics. The Ottoman Empire had controlled the holy land, but its decline meant that control over Jerusalem would be an opportunity for the Vatican to claim authority over the holy sites. The orthodox contested that assumption and the war was on.
Russia celebrated the 150th anniversary of its losing defense of Sevastopol (capitol of the semi autonomous region of Crimea, Ukraine) in 2006. Today Sevastopol is a large naval port for the Russian and Ukrainian navies.
The sensational documents discovered by Russian scholars point to the Catholic Church and its desire to rule the holy land in 1850 as the cause of the war. No doubt there are other viewpoints. Rome had lost its power under Napoleon I in 1798. But 50 years later, Rome was already meddling in geopolitical matters again, though from a weakened position. The “filthiness of her fornication” with the kings of the earth resulted in a lot of bloodshed in Crimea. (See Revelation 17:2, 4)