It's fairly easy to understand the U.S.goals in l'affaire ukrainienne, and where they now stand, once I accept that the U.S. is desperately trying to defend it's hegemony of Europe and control of NATO. It is much harder to understand the Zelenskij government in terms of sanity, perhaps easier to blame Ukrainian corruption.
But Russian goals are far more enigmatic to me. I originally thought they were limited to the reincorporation of Donbas, possession of all the Sea of Azov ports, an overland route from Crimea to Russia proper, the eventual incorporation of Moldova and Transnistra, leaving Ukraine a landlocked farming rump state buffer zone.
So I could not understand why Russia did not apply maximum force to decapitate the Kiev government. I'm starting to realize that I understand the Russian primary objectives correctly, there is a secondary objective. Russia is in less of a hurry to end the conflict than the U.S. The longer the military action lasts, the more the EU is weakened economically and politically.. A low key action minimizes casualties, while providing useful data for the improvement of Russian weapon systems, and knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of NATO weapons, logistics capability, and to a certain extent NATO battle doctrine.
It may be that the real prize is Germany. The longer the action lasts,and the more unstable EU governments, especially Germany's, the more Germany must look at a rapprochement with Russia.and distance from the EU. I think that concern for the stability of the EU is the real reason Sweden and Finland wanted NATO membership.