The European Union has said it holds deep reservations over a vote by the US House of Representatives to impose tough new sanctions on Russia that may affect energy flows to Europe.

European commissioners "expressed their concerns notably because of the draft bill's possible impact on EU energy independence," the bloc said in a statement following talks in Brussels on the matter.

The commission added that it remained "ready to act to protect European interests" if the concerns were not addressed by US politicians, repeating a threat made in May by European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.

Earlier today, France's foreign ministry said the sanctions appear to be at odds with international law due to their extra-territorial reach.

The French foreign ministry said in a statement that French and European laws would need to be adjusted in response and added that discussions would be necessary at European Union level because of the potential impact on European citizens and firms.

The sanctions, which also target North Korea and Iran, passed overwhelmingly yesterday in the US House of Representatives and now heads for expected passage by the Senate.

The legislation is aimed at punishing the Kremlin for meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, and Russia's annexation of Crimea.

In an apparent concession, the House modified a provision so the bill only targets pipelines originating in Russia, sparing those that merely pass through, such as the Caspian pipeline that carries oil from Kazakhstan to Europe.

But Brussels worries the fresh wave of measures could end up penalising European firms that contribute to the development of Russia's energy sector.

While the bill "demonstrates that a number of these concerns are being taken into account", it nevertheless foresees "sanctions on any company (including European) which contributes to the development, maintenance, modernisation or repair of energy export pipelines" of Russia, the EU said.

"Depending on its implementation, this could affect infrastructure transporting energy resources to Europe," including those transiting through Ukraine, the statement said.

The EU also raised worry over the law's impact on a major natural gas project out of the Baltic states.

Brussels further decried the sanctions bill as a unilateral action by Washington that disrupted previous close cooperation on measures against Russia.

After the House of Representatives vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the bill "tightens the screws on our most dangerous adversaries in order to keep Americans safe".

If enacted, the bill will antagonise the Kremlin as well as European nations fearing economic ramifications.

It will also force President Donald Trump to obtain politicians' permission before easing any sanctions on Russia.

The White House has said the president had not yet decided whether he would sign the measure.

Rejecting the bill, which would potentially hamper his hopes of pursuing improved relations with Russia, would carry a risk that his veto could be overridden by politicians.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where there is support for sanctions but debate about whether to include penalties on North Korea.

The Senate is also mired in debate over efforts to overhaul the US healthcare system as politicians try to clear the decks to leave Washington for their summer recess.