Is he turning into a dove all of a sudden? Can we say that Moscow is now interested in de-escalation? I am afraid not.
First of all, Putin is not exactly known as someone whose words should be taken for their face value. So, why this case should be any different? We all have learned this hard way. In fact, he is not shying away from admitting once in a while that, well, he lied on some occasions before.
Most notable example is the one about “little green men” in Crimea. Now you see them, now you do not. They were not Russian military, but, wait, then all of a sudden they were. Let us actually listen to what he said this time. He said that Russian troops are withdrawn away from Ukraine’s borders. Agencies monitoring them say it is not so. Thought so. We were to expect more comments and explaining to come from Moscow. Something of a sort: we are going to withdraw those forces if… Ukraine does this and that. West does such and such. So, no withdrawal, same posturing, keeping military pressure on the border.