Will for war?
Even if the will for war with Russia was there, there are problems facing the Western powers.
Defense budgets have dwindled in the Western powerhouses. Members of NATO made up most of the top 20 declining defence budgets between 2012 and 2014, according to research from IHS.
At the same time, Russian defense spending has overtaken the UK, making it the third highest military spender globally. And this pace is set to continue as the Russian military replaces old equipment and bolsters its defenses - in 2016, it is forecast to spend $98 billion on defence, up from $78 billion this year.
So Russia itself is a much more formidable opponent than a decade ago. Its relationship with China, which has so far stayed on the sidelines of the dispute, also complicates the picture, and makes the increasingly China-dependent Western powers more likely to pursue a soft power approach.
The fly in the appeasement ointment may be the Ukrainians themselves.
"Ukrainians seem willing to fight in defense of their country and, if this is added to Russia's determination to keep a tight grip on Ukraine, this all bodes ill still for the future," Ash pointed out.
- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle