Russia’s president will not attend a summit in South Africa next month, according to the country’s presidency.
The announcement comes after South Africa’s leader said any attempt to arrest Vladimir Putin would be a declaration of war against Russia.
If Mr Putin had left Russian soil, he would have been subject to an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant.
South Africa is an ICC signatory and expected to help in Mr Putin’s arrest.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will represent the country at the two-day summit instead.
However, Mr Putin will take part in the Brics conference – an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – by video link, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, according to Russian media.