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With Finland and Sweden joining NATO, there has been renewed focus on the strategic situation in the Baltic Sea. By joining the alliance, the two Scandinavian countries almost complete its encirclement of the Baltic and help consolidate allied defense efforts in the region. Yet the Russian Federation persists in the Baltic, and its influence remains threatening. Thus many of the optimistic assessments about NATO’s newfound dominance in the region do not reflect the reality, as the alliance has yet to figure out how best to defend against and deter Russia in this particular part of Europe.

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