WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden on Saturday authorized $200 million in weapons and other assistance for Ukraine, the White House said, as Ukrainian officials said heavy shelling by Russian forces were endangering attempted evacuations.

The decision brings total US security aid provided to Ukraine over the past year to $1.2 billion, a senior administration official said.

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In a memorandum to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Biden directed that up to $200 million allocated through the Foreign Assistance Act be designated for Ukraine's defense.

The funds can be used for weapons and other defense articles from the Defense Department's stock, as well as military education and training to help Ukraine.

The fresh funds come days after the US Congress approved $13.6 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine as part of a $1.5 trillion measure to fund the US government through September.

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