South Africa's Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor has said her government will have to discuss the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Russian President Vladimir Putin before considering any action.
Mr Putin is scheduled to travel to South Africa for the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in August.
Last week, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Mr Putin over alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
As a signatory to the Rome Statute, which established the court, South Africa is legally bound to detain Mr Putin and bring him to trial.
Ms Pandor said the South African authorities will first consult with the Russian side regarding the warrant.
"South Africa will have to look at existing provisions of our legislation. We also will have to have a discussion as cabinet, as well as with our colleagues in Russia, and really determine the way forward," Ms Pandor told national broadcaster SABC.
South Africa has close diplomatic relations with Moscow in spite of Western condemnations. Last month, its navy held joint exercises with Russian forces off the coast of South Africa. It has also abstained during UN votes condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In 2015, the South African government was criticised for letting then Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir leave the country despite an ICC arrest warrant.
Mr Bashir had gone to South Africa for an African Union summit and the government argued he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.