US visa restrictions an attempt to prevent escalation
The West, in the shape of the EU and the US, is talking about tough action against Russia - but these are threats, not punishment.
They are intended to be a big rock hovering over the head of individuals, forcing them to question their next step in Ukraine.
The White House is being coy about who might be targeted - apparently a list of names is being prepared but right now it is a blank.
We know that the bank balance of the man most responsible for the crisis in Ukraine is not in America's sights.
Russian President Vladimir Putin isn't on any potential blacklist. It's others lower down the food chain who would take the hit.
Ukraine: Growing war of words between Russia and US
The US is keen to label Russia's action an "invasion" but as yet no one has been shot by the troops, and it is still time for a war of words - on friend as well as foe, as it happens.
US President Barack Obama acknowledged that some saw Russian President Vladimir Putin's news conference as signalling a pause for reflection, but said the facts on the ground were different.
He said Putin could "throw words around" but he didn't respect a people's sovereign right.
Obama, himself no mean hand at the word-chucking business, may be frustrated that his allies aren't prepared to lob anything more substantive that a strong adjective.
It was Secretary of State John Kerry who really upped the rhetoric - accusing the Russians of hiding behind falsehood, and promising that democracy would "never be stolen by bullets or invasion".
Ukraine conflict sparks moral indignation in West
There is a good deal of moral indignation in the White House, and talk of hitting the Russians where it hurts: in their wallets.
It may not be enough to change the Kremlin's calculation.
Forget suggestions of sending in observers and getting Russia out of Crimea. This is now about a desperate attempt to stop this escalating into a full-scale, violent invasion of the whole country.
Putin and Obama are such different characters.
One is a small, strutting hard man with a passion to re-create an old empire, the other the professorial president - concerned not to repeat the mistakes that happen when America behaves like an empire - ever-hesitant to use the massive brute force his country can muster.