Poor choice of words on his part. I don’t think he said what he meant, but he did say it. Here’s a translation of the Q&A:
QUESTION: What about the first question? Are you concerned that a war could break out?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: I am not concerned, because we do not plan and we will not fight with the Ukrainian people.
QUESTION: But there are Ukrainian troops, there is the Ukrainian army.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Listen carefully. I want you to understand me clearly: if we make that decision, it will only be to protect Ukrainian citizens. And let’s see those troops try to shoot their own people, with us behind them — not in the front, but behind. Let them just try to shoot at women and children! I would like to see those who would give that order in Ukraine.”