Friday newspaper round-up: Cost of living crisis, defence spending, Lada

Russia has drawn up plans to seize the assets of western companies leaving the country as the Kremlin pushes back against sweeping sanctions and the exodus of international businesses since its invasion of Ukraine. Announcing the move after a string of global firms said they would suspend operations in Russia this week, including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, the country’s economic ministry said it could take temporary control of departing businesses where foreign ownership exceeds 25%. – Guardian
Rishi Sunak will take some limited action to tackle the cost of living crisis in this month’s spring statement but will reject calls to beef up his much-criticised energy bill reduction scheme, government sources say. Amid mounting pressure from inside his own party, and with some City analysts predicting inflation could hit 10% within months, the chancellor has asked Treasury officials to draw up options for cushioning the blow for consumers. – Guardian

Britain risks being overtaken by Germany as the biggest European military power in Nato unless Rishi Sunak increases defence spending by £10bn, economists have said. A German pledge to spend 2pc of GDP on defence means the UK is at risk of losing its clout in the alliance, piling more pressure on Rishi Sunak ahead of his spring statement later this month, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). – Telegraph

Lada has been forced to halt production of cars after sanctions left the stalwart Russian brand unable to get enough parts. The company is closing plants in Moscow, Togliatti and Izkevsk amid a scramble to secure computer chips. A spokesman said: “We are following the ongoing situation very carefully.” – Telegraph

Western aircraft finance companies face a $10 billion hit after Russia said it would act to stop the hundreds of leased planes operated by its airlines from being returned. About 450 aircraft owned by western organisations are operated on leases by Russian carriers. European sanctions adopted last week mean all these contracts must come to an end by March 28. – The Times

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