Ian McEwan in The Guardian:
Here we are, in our ringside seats at a bloody circus, watching on TV and Twitter, trapped between infinite pity and rational self-interest. The tension between two opposing forces is unbearable. Pulling from one side, our horror at a senseless invasion, our wonder at the Ukrainian resistance, the unarmed villagers mobbing a Russian tank or feeding a captured Russian conscript sobbing as he is allowed to phone his mother, and our sorrow at the sight of terrified children in the bunkers huddling against their parents while their towns are destroyed; and from the other, waiting outside Kyiv, the 40-mile column, which we know could be destroyed in an afternoon by satellite-guided cruise missiles and stealth jet fighters invisible to radar.
The unlockable buckle restraining the west is fear of nuclear war, and Vladimir Putin, elevated into a deranged and unpredictable adversary, has played us well. So we are strapped in place by a bluff we dare not call, expert watchers with the mouse clicks and screen swipes, and in our communal anguish, incapable of much beyond sanctions and arms donations, alms and fulminations.