Vietnam says it can't execute its hundreds of death row criminals because the European Union is refusing to export the lethal drugs used in the executions.

Vietnam changed its execution mode from firing squad to lethal injection in July 2011, but no one has been executed since then because the drugs are unavailable.

On Thursday, the Laborer newspaper quoted Vietnam's health minister, Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, as saying the EU — the main producer of the drugs — is refusing to export them, adding that authorities are considering producing the drugs locally.

Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Huynh Ngoc Son was quoted as saying the EU is trying to pressure Vietnam to give up capital punishment.

The EU's delegation in Vietnam was not available for comment Thursday.