U.S. military experts have started consultations in Prague on the deployment of a missile-defense radar in the Czech Republic, the Czech Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

The U.S. team will remain in the country until Friday, the ministry said.

On Monday, the ministry released the text of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed last Friday by Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanova and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in London. The pact governs the deployment of U.S. military personnel at the radar station.

The radar is part of a planned defense system to include interceptor missiles in Poland.

The plans are fiercely opposed by Russia, which sees the missile shield as a threat to its national security and the international nuclear deterrence system.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to "respond appropriately" to the deployment of the missile shield.