Idle thoughts based on no facts:
Russia does not want to “own” Ukraine, but deeply desires a buffer between it and Europe which is friendly to its regime.
Ukraine, supported by the US, the EU and the UK (et al) still support the position that the portion of the Ukraine which split away, with Russian baking, should be returned to its former owners.
Russia has assembled overwhelming military force on Ukraine’s borders, while stating they are not intending to invade Ukraine.
The US has pledged to “lower the boom” should Russia invade Ukraine,
The US/NATO intelligence services are likely aware of Russia’s intentions.
My belief is that it is Russia’s intention to supply the necessary military leverage, without attacking Ukraine proper, to allow the break-away state of Eastern Ukraine to either announce legitimate sovereignty ala Kosovo or Bangladesh or alternatively annex it. This would allow the US to save face, if it desired by claiming that it prevented an invasion of Ukraine with its threats.
The status quo would be preserved with the sole event being the abandonment of Ukraine’s claims on its lost eastern provinces and Crimea whose populations are majority ethnic Russian in any case.