The head of the Council of Europe on Monday called the independence referendum in the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia "unnecessary, unhelpful and unfair."
South Ossetia was expected to declare overwhelming backing for its independence drive in the poll which intensified a rift between Russia and the West over the Caucasus region.
"The results will not be recognized by the international community, the vote did nothing to bring forward the search for a peaceful political solution and the circumstances in which it has been carried out, especially the fact that ethnic Georgians were not given the right to vote, makes it irrelevant," said Terry Davis, the Secretary General of Europe's foremost human rights organization.
Russia is a member of the 46-nation Council of Europe, reports AP.
"The referendum in South Ossetia was unnecessary, unhelpful and unfair," said Davis.