The United States and Poland signed a deal to deploy missiles as part of a U.S. defense shield in the ex-Communist-bloc country amid a military crisis in Georgia.

The preliminary agreement to place 10 interceptor missiles signed by Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer and U.S. chief negotiator John Rood late on Thursday is likely to fuel tensions between the West and Russia already strained over Russia''s military response to a Georgian offensive in the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Russia is strongly opposed to the plan, which it considers as a threat to its national security. Washington says the European shield planned for deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic is designed to counter possible attacks from "rogue states."

The agreement was reached after Washington agreed to reinforce Poland''s air defenses. It is still to be approved by the two countries'' governments and Poland''s parliament.

Russia lawmakers said the deal will trigger a new arms race and confrontation in Europe. Moscow has repeatedly warned it will be forced to respond.